Wednesday, April 20, 2011

break on through

                                                                     may I have this dance?

I had my second lesson with my new favorite tormentor/ dance instructor V tonight. Fortunately it was not quite as traumatizing as last time and I did have the benefit of knowing what I was in for.

I spent most the day after my first lesson pouting about it; dancing had been the one thing that could help me relax lately and now I was stressing about it. Ugh!

I went out to dance that next night and found I was as nervous as a beginner when I hit the floor. What if I had secretly sucked at dancing all this time and it was obvious to everyone but me!? I was overwhelmed by a sudden and unfamiliar self-conciousness. I tried my best to snap out of it and remember some of the things V told me about hand-holds and shoulder and rib movement, about how relaxed my arm should be (I tend to strong-arm my partner a bit, read into that what you will).

And what do you know? I danced really well, much better than I've danced in a long time. After one lesson! But this is what good teachers do: first they break you down and you resent them for it, then once you get a taste of how much better you could be if you listen to them and you find yourself instantaneously devoted to their methods. I know from all the years of blood, sweat and tears I've spent trying to improve my tennis and my writing that in order to have a breakthrough, you have to be broken first. If you want to be really good at something you have to get ready to dismantle yourself and rebuild; to take an honest look at where you are and find a path to where you want to be. It's not so easy to find people who can really teach you something once you're grown up and jaded. You have to both respect them enough to let them break you down and then trust them enough to build you back up, to not just leave you broken.

When was the last time you got schooled?

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