Monday, February 20, 2006

This Turtle has four left feet.

When I sat down to blog tonight I had a choice. It was a toss-up whether to comment on the 3-part seminar I've been attending on Mindfulness, or on the weekend's escapade at the Latin dance club.

I'm all for injecting some humour into the blog, so I choose... the latter.

Back in January Anvilcloud had some parallel experiences with Dancing. It seems we share a common, but not so uncommon affliction. We're men, and we're learning... to dance. Enough said? I think not.

Turtles have four feet. All of mine apparently are left. Left to their own devices, they do their own thing. Or nothing. The connection between body, mind and soul is one thing, but quite another is the connection between mind and feet! In my case, the LACK of connection is key. If I can get over the fact that my brain doesn't like talking to my feet, dancing - or the way that I do it - will be easier to accept.

I have to give the instructor credit where credit is due. He was light-hearted and jovial. Of course he's seen it all and KNOWS that men are far more self conscious than women when it comes to learning how to dance. (S. had some comforting words for me... she gets it: when you're learning, the minute you experience negative criticism you shut down. Hard as this may be to accept, gents, we're the most vulnerable - at least when it comes to dancing.)

"Latin Dancing" is not just a step. There are variations on the theme. Salsa, Meringue, Cha Cha and so on down the line. Each dance has its own step, rythm and beat count. Who would have ever thought of all the mechanics behind dancing.

I thought it would be easy... you know... dance from your soul.

I'm in touch with my soul - or at least I BELIEVE I am. So what makes this so difficult for a beginner? I would love nothing more than to just dance around free-syle... you know, the kind of dancing everyone talks about when they say "dance like no one's watching"?

The problem with freestyle is that it's in direct conflict with the mechanics of structured dance.

Or is it?

I wonder if freestyle could relate to the "dance from your soul" part which is key. The structure and execution of the mechanics could quite simply be a mechanism put into place to keep everyone upright... and to spare the toes of unsuspecting ladies! Let's face it guys, ladies are much better dancers. Or at least as Anvilcloud pointed out - they pick it up quicker and with more retention!

I told S. going in that I was scared (stupid) <-- G rated comment for the blog. I discovered very quickly what makes her so naturally suited to teaching. Patience and compassion. She understands learning - not only the process, but the fear, anxiety and excitement. It made a potentially fearful experience a most pleasant one. I was new, I didn't care and I had such a good time!

Now... this all ties in with Mindfulness which will get a post of its own shortly, but here's the connection. The basis of the seminar I've been attending (part 3 tomorrow night) is to be aware and MINDFUL of the present. We spend so much time rushing from project to project - from here to there - that we forget to pay attention to the journey. What's happening NOW while we're concerned about how our past is going to affect our future? Dancing on Sunday was a perfect opportunity to pay attention to what my body, mind and soul were up to in the present. The temptation was there to think about what other people would think of me, but the exercise I put myself through was to NOTICE what I was experiencing in the moment. More on this later.

I've been sitting at my desk working my feet...

1 - 2 - 3 ... 4 - 5 - 6...

I even have a swivel chair, so perhaps I'll practice turning too!

Ooops... poor cat!


ipodmomma said...

very nice! it is a trick, sometimes, to be here in the present... good for you!

as for the dancing, well done... at least you get out there and give it a go... again, well done!

Sarah Elaine said...

You do not have four left feet! I was there! I can attest to this!

Turtle is shedding his shell, me thinks...

Chrystal said...

Women are better dancers? Was there a survey conducted that I am not aware of? Why would that be? I'm gonna have to think about that.

wthenrest said...

Well I am impressed that you even wanted to attempt to learn dancing...being a man and all.. Good on ya!!! The 'scared of what other people think' syndrome stops a multitude of activities in the works. As you probably realized, besides your comforting S, is that people are too busy dancing or watching themselves to be concerned with
Happy poor kitty. though

Anvilcloud said...

Odd timing. We just got back from the country today. I couldn't sleep, so I got up and practised my steps for an hour. At least with line dancing, you know what you're supposed to be doing. In couple's dancing, you seem to go with the flow more or less. Except I don't flow very well.

Bast said...

I'm taking tap. Love it, love it, love it! Lots of stomping around and making noise. In deference to my hero, Fred Astaire. And it's darn good exercise. So good on ya!

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Calgary, Alberta, Canada
English student, Pottery enthusiast, Yoga novice and lover of all people. I make friends over a warm handshake and a beverage. I discover, every day, someone willing to help me along my path.