I wrote this text 12 years ago ... and about 15 kg ago. I just got my hands on it and liked it so much that I decided to publish it on the Empowerment Coaching blog. It's a real-life story, adorned with very wise insights.
The first dance tournament I'm going to take part in is approaching. The first in… twenty-something years.
Once upon a time, in high school and college, I was engaged in ballroom dancing. Then I got married and there were children. It was necessary to deal with "serious" matters. Take care of your place on earth, family, and future. At the age of 43, I returned to my old passion. Kind of by accident, but I don't think there are any coincidences in life. I met a long-lost friend from college. It turned out that she runs a ballroom dancing club and that there is a free place for a partner in his thirties. So it started (again).
I have been training very intensively for several weeks. And I struggle with myself.
To participate in the tournament (in my age category), you must make eight dances. Four standard (English waltz, tango, Viennese waltz, quickstep) and four Latin American (samba, cha-cha, rumba, jive). You have to be fit to withstand 4 dances in a row in any style. Don't laugh. It is not that simple at all. At least for a man in his forties 🙂
Each dance has a different atmosphere. A different character. A different kind of movement. Here the leg is to be straight, and here it is bent. But there is much more. You have to coordinate with each other: feet, knees, hips, diaphragm, shoulder blades, shoulders, elbows, hands, and head. Even the position of the fingers in your hand matters. And you also have to pull in your stomach, pull your buttocks, keep straight and lead your partner! Not to mention that it would be nice to dance to the music 🙂
Wrestling with your body is an interesting experience. Sometimes I am helpless. Despite the fact that I know that I understand how to properly dance a given figure - the body does not want to listen. And even if the leg listens, it turns out that the hip jumped out where it does not need to be.
It sometimes feels like "plowing the fallow". For example, try rotating your straightened arms so that one spins forward and the other spins backward, and then smoothly change the direction of both arms so that they rotate in opposite directions again. Did you manage?
In addition, young people who dance much better than me train around. On the one hand, it is depressing, and on the other hand, it is a benchmark point.
This dance of mine is such a life in a nutshell. More than once the question comes to my mind: man, you are 40 years old. What are you doing? How many guys your age are dancing? What do you need this for? Wouldn't it be better to spend this time on some "quiet pleasures"? Or, for example, on making money ?!
I experience frustration many times. Because it seemed that I got something on Monday, and on Wednesday it doesn't work again. Struggling with your body is an amazing adventure. And although we are talking about the body, the most important fight is played in the head.
I still have a hard time getting on the dance floor with other, younger and better dancers. Their presence stiffens. Then I catch myself thinking that it shouldn't matter that they are there and what they think of me. Exactly. It shouldn't. And yet it does. Nevertheless, more and more often, I am starting to feel completely at ease. I immerse myself in this dance and focus 100% on what I do. The presence of other people really doesn't matter. I just do my thing.
It is said that talent in all arts is only a small percentage of success. What distinguishes the masters from the rest is work, work, work. Faith and determination.
This is also the secret in dance. You mustn't give up too quickly. And you have to do your best every time. Because only then can you get to know your true capabilities.
It turns out that each time this “everything” is greater than the previous one. If we limit ourselves, we will not know how much we can really do. The fight takes place in the head.
Sometimes you have to force yourself. Visualization and positive thinking are useless. You just have to work hard.
The question also returns: why am I doing this? After all, having a guy of this age in a ballroom seems to be something… strange, useless.
But that's my path. It seems I have been given such a gift and it is my calling to make the best of it. Be fulfilled in it. Contrary to others, or no matter what others think (although as you can see, I am not free from doubts about “what others will think”).
I swim away in dance. I am forgetting myself. Sometimes I play with it, against the rules in force (not only the work itself but also a lot of fun). More and more often I am filled with this "dance is me" feeling. Here I feel that I am fully alive. So how could I give up on these beautiful moments? After all, I will only take these memories and experiences with me when the time comes to cross to the other side ...
Exactly ... 12 years after writing this text, its ending appeals to me even more. Because today I am closer than farther (to/from the other side).