Thursday, April 14, 2011

please don't stop the music

                                                                                   I probably just need this outfit, a watermelon

Until last night, I had been laboring under the impression that I was a pretty decent salsa dancer. After all, all my (non-dancer) friends all seem pretty impressed. I know where the beat is, I know the steps and can do many spins in a row.
Turns out none of that makes me any good.  
According to my new instructor everything from my feet to my fingertips and all that goes on in between is wrong, wrong, wrong. The words ‘stiff’ and ‘dead’ were bandied about more than once. Ouch.
But this is what I came for after all. At some point I noticed that all of the best dancers in town seemed to be coming by way of this one particular studio, so when I wanted to step up my game this is where I went for lessons. Is it painful to learn you are in fact crap at something you thought you could do pretty well? Yes. But it’s also the only way to get better and I know this from all the years I’ve spent working on tennis and on writing; the years spent breaking down and building back up the various fundamentals of these things.
It’s uncomfortable to have someone blow your illusions about yourself away. You’d almost think I’d be impervious to this by now after trying to get published but the truth is, it’s always painful if the thing in question matters to you. And anything worth having is on the other side of this process.
‘Did you have fun?’ my instructor asked after the lesson. I didn’t know what to say to that so I just nodded dumbly (a common theme throughout the hour). I like hard work and I like getting better and I REALLY like being good at something, but the actual moment when you realize how much far you really have to go? If that were fun, everyone would do it.

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