“Let’s go, I’m teaching you how to waltz.” What?
As a child I played a few years of violin, then some piano, then did some singing. I was never very good at any one and eventually, I decided that I love music more than music loves me. College was an opportunity to have a different rapport with music. I am lucky enough to live in a dorm with a plethora of talented musicians. Belting tunes from Les Mis and La La Land while a dormmate bangs away at the lounge piano has become a fixture of dorm life, as have impromptu O-Tones performances or violin melodies drifting out windows.
I have always dreamed of dancing. Maybe it is a little girl’s dream, but I cannot help but envy couples who glide across the dance floor, moving gracefully to the rhythm of the music, or dancers rocking out on their own, seemingly having the time of their life. Unfortunately, my grace and coordination (or rather lack of them) always kept me away from the dance floor — I always itched to join yet stayed on the side, tapping my feet to the beat but staying put.
Campus, however, has been intent on tempting me. Of course, there’s social dance — the class for which so many students hog cluster computers, have ten Axess tabs on their computer when registration opens and willingly submit themselves to a 9:30am class. And then there’s free workshops, campus-wide events, friends who spend nights dancing. Seeing so many people put themselves out there, building on existing skills for some or pushing themselves out of their comfort zones and starting from scratch for others, slowly made me believe that maybe I should give it a try.
A week or so ago, I was lured into attending a Jammix. There was polka, swing, rock and everything in between, and I was amazed to see dancers of all ages, gender expressions, size, and experience having fun together. That brings us to the friend who took my shoulder, led me outside the dance room, and announced he was going to teach me how to waltz. 15 minutes later, waltz I did (well … somewhat), thanks to his patience, advice and resilience (I’m still sorry for his toes).
Once you get a taste, you want more. It’s safe to say that I have danced more in the past week than I have in the past 17 years of my life. With 30 minutes of waltz, 2 hours of salsa, and 3 hours of West Coast Swing under my belt, I’m more eager than ever to learn. I’ve been pestering my dancer friends, dragging other reticent novices along and generally being a pain but having an amazing time.
To all the feet-tapping, wishful would-be dancers out there — take the leap, ask someone to teach you, show up at a class or at the dance floor. There are so many ways to start dancing, and I promise you that you won’t regret it.
Contact Axelle Marcantetti at axellem ‘at’ stanford.edu.