A publication to engage the dance community. Learn. Discuss. Contribute. Enjoy.

Middle-Aged Moves

The Journey Begins

By Rochelle Lockridge

Monday, February 23, 2015: workday afternoon

Rochelle: Help! I need to find something I can stick with on my own. Exercising by myself isn't working.

Laura: Have you thought about ballroom dancing?

Rochelle: I'd love that! But I'm over fifty and don't have a partner.

Laura: Where we go for our lessons, there are people—both women and men—who are just like you. It's a very safe and supportive place to learn. You don't need a partner. The instructors have the class continually changing partners to help you learn more quickly.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015: the following day on the phone with Dancers Studio

Rochelle: Hello. My name is Rochelle. I'm interested in taking classes at your studio, but the swing class I want to take will be on class two of six tomorrow night. Will that be okay?

Front Desk: Have you done any ballroom dancing?

Rochelle: Yes, some in high school and college. But that was over thirty years ago. I was taught the basics of swing at my daughter's graduation party ten years ago. I could do that pretty well.

Front Desk: Well, I'm sure it won't be a problem if you only missed the first lesson in the beginning series. Come on over. We look forward to meeting you.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015: at the studio

6:55 p.m.

Front Desk: Hi, Rochelle. I've signed you in. You can go right in there with Troy. The class will be starting in five minutes.

7:10 p.m.

Rochelle's thoughts: What have I gotten myself into? This is really hard. I haven't a clue what is going on. This isn't how I was taught to swing dance. Where's the rock-step?

7:30 p.m.

Rochelle's thoughts: One, two, three, four … no, wait. One, two, three and four … then five and six …. Let me start over again …. One, two … arrrrrgh … and four … oops, sorry… five and six….

7:45 p.m.

Rochelle's thoughts: What? What's this about an eight-count whip? What's a whip? Step, step, tri-ple-step, step, step, tri-ple-step. Hey, now where'd the counting go? I don't even have the basic six-count pattern down yet. Help!

8:00 p.m.: end of first class

Rochelle's thoughts: Wow, if this is only the second week of the beginning class, I'm in big trouble.

Fellow Student: Are you going to stay for the dance party?

Rochelle's thoughts: You've got to be kidding. Stay for a dance party and embarrass myself even more than I have already? I'm way out of my league here. I need to escape and escape fast.

Rochelle: No, I don't think so tonight. I need to practice just the basic pattern before I can do anything at all. Thanks for all of your patience. Maybe next week.

Thursday, February 26, 2015: the next morning at work

Laura: So how'd it go last night?

Rochelle: I don't know. It was much harder than I had expected.

Laura: What class did you take?

Rochelle: Hmm, a swing class. Oh, wait, it was called the west coast swing, I think. It was supposed to be the second week in a six-week beginner series.

Laura [eyes wide]: West coast swing? You started with the west coast swing? That's one of the hardest you can pick. Are you going to go back?

Rochelle: Yep. I found this fantastic package deal for six group lessons that I couldn't pass up.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015: evening at home with the computer

Rochelle's thoughts: Let's take a look at the Dancers Studio website before tomorrow's swing class. Hey, there are different types of swing? No wonder I was having problems: east coast, west coast, or just plain swing appears to be listed, too. Wait, what's this? There are two west coast swing classes scheduled at 7 p.m.? Let's hope I accidentally crashed the intermediate class last week.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015: returning to the studio

6:55 p.m.

Front Desk: Hi, Rochelle. Welcome back.

Rochelle: Hi. I see there are two west coast swing classes offered at the same time. Which one is the beginning class?

Front Desk: This one here with April.

Rochelle: Thank goodness. This makes more sense now. It's not just me.

Rochelle [to intermediate class]: I'm sorry about last week. I was in the wrong class. I'm going to go over next door where I belong.

7:15 p.m.

Rochelle's thoughts: Wow, this is so much easier. I'm actually ahead of the class with all of the work I did last week practicing that basic step pattern. One, two, three and four, five and six.

8:00 p.m.: end of second class/first beginner class

Rochelle's thoughts: I think I can do this. If nothing else, it's good exercise for the next five weeks. Let's try staying for this dance party thing.

And that's how my ballroom dance journey as a middle-aged, divorced woman started six months ago. My adventure (and recently assured transformation) has begun.