A Viennese ball is the centerpiece of my boyfriend's and my forthcoming trip to Austria in February. Imagine a night full of the bespoke couples whirling to the strains of great Austrian and German composers -- the Strauss family, Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, and Mahler played by a live orchestra in a glorious Rococo building. Think of swishing ballgowns and tuxedos, livelier American pop played in another room, and endless smiling faces. That's the Viennese ball experience in a few lines.
The beau's innate confidence and dance experience prepared him well in advance of buying the tickets, but I last attempted extended formal dancing some time between my senior prom and my cousin's wedding. Neither evening came with extensive lessons or certainty upon my part, but four successful months of grinding along with aquatic aerobics removed some doubts about tackling one of my great fears in life: learning how to properly dance.
Tomorrow we go for our first complementary lesson at the Arthur Murray dance studio, and I dumped all my expectations -- negative and positive -- at the door. I anticipate stumbling, nervous or self-deprecating laughter, and carrying on as I try to mirror the instructor with some degree of success. That's a far cry from the me who hates looking foolish or incompetent. Am I still uncertain? Absolutely, but I know I will improve with practice and putting faith in myself and my partner. In order to learn, setting aside the deafening roar of negative self-talk or assumptions is the first step to listening to the teacher.
Since the beau has reservations about increasing his activity level, I hope ballroom dancing brings multiple positive benefits to us. One, we get a night out together doing something together other than a restaurant or a movie (cheaper and healthier all around). The weather has no bearing on whether we can execute a clean spin. Two, a new activity engages our attention with unfamiliar patterns (me) and refreshed knowledge (him). He dislikes the dull routine of the gym and feels uncertain about losing limited free time post-work to toil away on a treadmill. Three, as a couple's activity, dancing allows us to help one another out and cooperate for a mutually fulfilling end. He can boost me up when my spirits flag, and I can giggle into his shoulder when we get something right. His enthusiasm for dancing encourages me to give waltzing a shot and to see whether we can make this a shared exercise activity.
Dancing will be hard work and a time commitment to master properly, just like my aquatic aerobics class has been. The results may not be found on my waistline, if my previous exercise classes are anything to go by (sigh), but I am following the rich and powerful advice of fellow Sparkers. Our progress can be measured in smiles and confidence for that goal of having a great night on the floor, rather than the sidelines, in Vienna.
Sometimes you just have to lace on those dancing shoes and get out there. The music's up, and NOW is your time to capture the moment. Stop waiting!