I vaguely remember schoolteachers, eager that an upcoming school dance wouldn't be an excuse for inappropriate contact between pupils, walking us through some basic dance steps. Other than that, September 2015 marks the time when I started learning to dance.
All things considered, as a complete novice, I didn't do too badly. Still, I was surprised that some of the ladies wanted to dance with me. I looked around at the men who obviously had many more years experience of dancing than I did, and I was puzzled. Wouldn't it have been better to dance with them, rather than someone with my limited experience and knowledge of so few moves? I pointed out to each of the ladies that I was a beginner, and each of them said it didn't matter to them.
I still have my faults as a dancer. In fact, it's hard for me to think of myself as a dancer. I consider how I move, and I know that many years of determined training in martial arts have set a template for how I learn new movements. Sometimes, those old habits make themselves known, and my dance partner momentarily loses her balance. Thankfully, those reactions I trained over many years allow me to quickly adjust and save her from falling. The other side to knowing how to disturb someone's balance, and sometimes doing so instinctively, is that I also have the ability to restore balance.
If I ask someone to dance (with my lack of confidence, it doesn't happen often), they seem pleased that I've asked. Some of the ladies also ask me to dance.
That early experience was in modern jive. I'm still learning that style, but I recently started learning salsa as well. So, I went from knowledge of no dance styles (I'm assuming that early informal attempts at breakdancing don't count) to actively learning two of them. Again, I was welcomed as a dance partner, and I was no more coordinated than I was when I started learning modern jive.
The answer came to me recently, when I considered all that's been said by the ladies who've danced with me. For the time that you're dancing with her, it matters little to your partner that you only know a few basic moves: to her, you're the best dancer in the world. How can that be? Well, at that moment, of all the dancers in the world, you're the only one who's dancing with her.
It's all too easy to get caught up in the technicalities and forget that this is supposed to be fun. It's dancing!