“On a Trip to the Ballroom,” by aFrankAngle

Fellow blogger aFrankAngle allowed me (da-AL) to share his thoughts with you …

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It all started on 5th January 2006. I remember hearing about the competition in the previous series, but on this night I wanted to see Kenny Mayne, a studio personality on ESPN. My wife knew even less, but she also watched. Now it was done.

After dinner the next day, we gathered in our family room. My wife asked, “Don’t you want to see how it ends?” I wasn’t interested because I saw what I wanted – but she wanted to watch – so we did. Since then, we can use our fingers to count the number of episodes we’ve missed of Dancing with the Stars (DWTS).

DWTS became a topic within our dinner group as several others watched the show. In 2007 (I think), the hosting couple hired a local dance instructor to give the dinner group couples an introductory lesson. A few months later, I purchased an introductory package of ballroom dance lessons for my wife as a birthday gift.

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That initial purchase led to other lessons … and then more lessons. Who knows how much money we’ve spent on dance since then, but we are still dancing and having fun!

No – we don’t have any glamorous outfits – those are very expensive – but outside of lessons, we’ve purchased shoes and attended numerous dance events. We don’t compete or perform – so no need for the glamour and glitz. We dance for fun!

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Ballroom dance is a journey and more difficult than one may think. I recall our first lessons were in April, so we were excited to dance at an upcoming wedding 6-8 weeks later. We struggled at the wedding, so the lesson learned was to continue maximizing the Safe House for Dance – the studio where we take lessons.

We continued our weekly pattern of a private lesson, a group lesson, and the Friday night socials. That’s how you learn to dance. That’s how you increase your confidence. By the end of summer, we were ready to again try dancing in public.

That was our breakthrough dance. We felt confident enough not to worry, wise enough to know we still had a lot to learn, and comfortable enough to laugh after mistakes – stop and start again. A month later we were on a cruise ship where we danced every day – and had dance friends on ships. The rest is history.

We still take private lessons – still attend groups – still dance socially most weeks – we still don’t compete or perform – and we still enjoy it. We have a circle of dance friends, and know many other because of ballroom. Life is good.

On his blog, A Frank Angle: Thoughts from the Inner Mind, Frank shares his honest views on a variety of topics. He frequently writes about ballroom dance – in posts such as Benefits of Ballroom DanceA Dance with Grace and EleganceMy Close EncounterA dance story: My attempt at fictionAn unexpected place ballroom dance led me, and Tango.