I held Georgia close. We swayed to the music and slowly turned. Next to us, a couple twirled and spun in elegant circles. Their feet and bodies moved in harmony with the music, as they floated over the dance floor.
“Wouldn’t it be wonderful to dance like that?” Georgia asked me.
“It sure would.” I replied into her ear.
A few weeks later, my daughter, Vanessa, announced plans to attend her boyfriend’s prom. Georgia decided to give them dance lessons as a Christmas gift. She found a dance studio and called them. “Are you sure you and your husband don’t want to take lessons with them?” the gentleman asked. “There’s a discount for a second couple.”
“Well... ” my wife hesitated. “Why not?”
We stood with ten other couples in the centre of the floor at Jimmy’s Dance Studio. I listened to the conversations. “I’ve always wanted to do this.” One woman said.
“I hope I don’t step on someone’s feet.” A man of about fifty said to his greying wife.
A dapper gentleman of about sixty stepped into the room and faced us. He was five foot two inch —if that. “I’m Jimmy. You’re here to learn to dance and you will. I promise you, by the time you finish your first six weeks, you’ll make your friends jealous.” He said.
His toupee, obviously fitted many years ago, was slightly off centre and barely covered his spreading baldness. We started with the basic box step , a simple waltz for those who know how to dance. We practiced the steps facing each other but standing several feet apart. The men stepped forward with their left foot; the women stepped back with their right. Our steps were mirror images of each other.
“One! Two! Three!” Jimmy shouted.
It seemed easy.
“OK!” Jimmy said.
“Watch how it’s done.” He took one of his assistants in his arms. An Anne Murray song began to play. “Save The Last Dance for Me” she sang. Jimmy and his partner drifted elegantly around the room.
“We’re going to start the music again. Take your partner in your arms. Now let’s give it a try.”
Jimmy smiled at us. “It’s easy. You’ll see.”
Anne Murray sang again. The song would haunt us for months. I held Georgia in my arms. My right hand held her waist, the left held her hand. The music began. I moved my left foot forward and stepped on Georgia’s toe. We stood, waited for the beat, and tried again. Half way through the box, we faltered.
“Hold her firm!” One of the assistants came to our side. She grabbed my arm.
“Here! Put your arm around her waist! Hold her hand with the other! Don’t move it. Keep it firm! You have to guide her!”
Anne Murray wailed again. We got through the full box without stumbling or stepping on each other. Compared to the instructors, we looked like two kids dancing for the first time. We were awkward, but we learned.
Several weeks later, something happened. While Anne Murray begged for the last dance, Georgia and I began to flow across the floor. Our awkwardness was gone. We were partners. We were one.
“Yes! Yes!” The Jimmy yelled and smiled.
“Look at them, class. They got it.” He clapped his hands, which caused his toupee to slide to the left. “I told you it was easy.” He smiled.
It took a lot of practice and time, but we did it. We became a team. We anticipated each other’s moves and interpreted the slightest signal from the other. What seemed hard before became natural.
Once we learned how to dance, we looked at our relationship. We stumbled at cooking together. We stepped on each other’s toes when disciplining our children. I wanted to go right, she went left: when to mow the lawn, how much to spend on a car, where our vacations should be spent, and all things couples struggle with.
We applied what we learned in class. Once we got the steps down, we danced through life
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