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Two Steps Forward....No Steps Back

I can’t wait for the next wedding I attend. Have you seen those group dances that wedding guests seem to know? In Wisconsin, grandmas and grandkids jump out of their chairs for the Chicken Dance. I can hop around the floor and flap my arms, too, but when the DJ plays “Elvira” and the wedding guests form a line to Electric Slide I’ve been too timid to try it. It doesn’t look difficult: everyone goes sideways for a while, and then the other way, before all turning in unison and repeating the steps.

That’s why I was excited to sign up for a Senior Line Dancing class. At 68 years old, I qualified for the 55-and-older beginners group. The first day, I saw most of the others appeared to be still in their 50’s, but I was undaunted. Hurrah! The instructor began with “Elvira” and the Electric Slide. Vine to the right and scuff. Vine to the left and scuff.

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I loved learning these new terms and could almost picture myself in cowgirl boots and a western hat.

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Next, the instructor introduced “Stray Cat Strut,” “ASI ASI,” the “Cupid Shuffle,” and some kind of Charleston. Whoa. I had no idea there were so many line dances. Apparently there are more than 100 dances we can learn. The music we dance to is not all country, like “Meat and Potatoes Man,” but includes early Rock ‘n’ Roll hits, such as “That’ll Be the Day,” by Buddy Holly or “Yes, Sir, That’s My Baby,” by Rick Nelson. It’s quite an aerobic workout, too.

By the end of class, my face is beet red and even my arms have a pink glow. Someone calls out, "Is this a two-wall dance or a four-wall one?" Everyone winds up facing the wrong wall at some point....we just laugh.

A closer look showed me the class was quite diverse. Tiny brown-haired Lois in her 70’s is met by her husband after every class. She is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. Gerry taps her way to class with the aid of a walking stick for the sight impaired. Once there, she folds up the cane, finds her spot on the floor, and dances away.

Why was I timid about trying something new, when others dance with greater challenges? At the next wedding, you will find me on the floor, scuffing and vining to “Elvira.” I won’t even care if I turn the wrong way. How about you? What is something new you are going to try? What mistakes are you willing to make?

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