Welcome back to John’s Little Corner here at Dance FX Studios in Mesa, Arizona! I am glad to see people taking time out of their busy lives to read my “Little Corner” blogs. I hope you are getting something from them, both on a dance and an emotional level. Emotions have a strong connection with dance, and yesterday, after a full day of lessons, I realized what an emotional journey my students are on. I wanted to share a couple of their stories with you, so you too can see how dancing can be positive exper for anyone!
Hannah came to the studio for Dance FX Studios’ New Student Offer for beginners because she wanted to do something fun. Hannah is a single mother of two, with a strong career in the hospitality industry as a General Manager of a 4 star hotel in Scottsdale. Now, Hannah is a pretty busy gal. In fact, her dance lesson needed to be on a Saturday while her kids were at a birthday party. Hannah literally had her entire day planned out down to the half hour; her lesson time was marked as FUN in her phone. So as you can probably imagine, Hannah was a very organized lady between work, home life and her children. So as we sat and initially talked, Hannah opened up about not going out often enough, if ever, and felt the only personal time she had was when she was asleep! I noticed during our first hour together that Hannah was not very big on smiling; however, by the end of the hour, she had smiled a total of five times and laughed twice. I was actually able to count them! When we sat down after our dance lesson (she focused on Country dancing mainly) to talk about her experience, I was blown away by her first sentence asking, “How can I sign up for more lessons?”. I truly thought she did not have that great of a time during her lesson. Hannah chose our five hour Foundation course and even found a way to help her to schedule her dance lessons close together, as we recommend. One of her lessons was even on her lunch break!
Hannah’s first lesson was at night, after her long day at the hotel. She was still in her work attire and frazzled from a busy shift. I instructed her to kick off her shoes and join me on the floor. Hannah’s following was very resistant, and you could just feel from her the need to take charge of the dance. After having a little chat of the benefits of being a great follower on the dance floor, Hannah began to relax, and slowly a smile came to her face. I could see that stress relief was much needed and that dancing fit the bill as a means of unwinding after a crazy day. When the lesson was over, she literally danced her way out the door. Every lesson since, she came stressed, tight, heavy in her follow, and talking about her hectic day! Yet by the end of the hour, she was relaxed every time.
Hannah went on into our General Studies Program. However, she does not come in frazzled or stressed anymore, but smiling, because she knows that relaxation and fun is in her future! Even better… her weekends are now mostly unscheduled; nowhere is FUN scheduled in her phone. When we last spoke, I asked her what has changed at work, and her answer was…”ME!” Hannah said since she began social dancing, she almost enjoys work. Her productivity is up, and her coworkers have even said how much more pleasant she is to be around. Besides work, her life at home has become more relaxed, and she even recently went out on a date, dancing of course! She apologized to me because she found herself back leading during their dance but only because he was not very good at it! I am very happy for Hannah because dance gave her stress relief in her day opened her up to relax a little bit more in her life. She is still very organized, but now she takes time for herself and doesn’t always schedule it on her phone. So proud!
Another student I have is Fred. Fred is just a simple 42 year old guy, very open, humble and experienced in life, as he would say! Life has thrown a lot at Fred, and Fred has stood strong at every devastating blow. Fred had defeated cancer at the age of 26, while also going through a divorce at the same time. He even went through a second divorce later on down the road that rendered him homeless and lost. Those are probably some of his worst stories. He has so many that even when things are bad, he tells the story with humor and pride.
It’s the second divorce Fred went through that makes me tell his story, because it was during that time I met him. When Fred found out his second wife wanted to leave him, it hit him hard; especially because he had just started a new job. Fred is a man of honor and carries the code of a true gentleman. He graciously left his home to give her space and tried everything he could to save the marriage- living in his car, trying to work, going to couples therapy alone, and filing a petition for reconciliation in the court to put a hold on the divorce she filed for three days after he left the house. Fred continued on this path for about two months, trying everything he could to keep his marriage and fight for the one he loved. Fred found out she had gone out on a date, dancing with another man. Fred decided in an attempt to save this marriage to surprise her with a date night dance lesson, learning her favorite Country dance, the Two Step. Fred also set up a dinner date at a Western theme restaurant with a live band and a dance floor. He called the studio and set up a beginner’s dance lesson focused on Country dancing and came in with Kristin (his still technical wife). They had a great connection with each other, both laughing at their situation and both seemingly enjoying each other’s company as if nothing really was wrong. They even went on to enroll in our Foundation program! Fred set the first couple lessons up with us, and they left for dinner and dancing. Fred later called the next day thanking us for the lesson and how well dinner went. The dancing was rough, but the overall night was great! Two days later, Fred rescheduled the lessons for a week later, and when the day came for the first lesson, Fred showed up alone and unsure if Kristin would show up. She never did.
Being who he is, Fred completed his dance lessons alone and even enrolled into General Studies because he found something he enjoyed doing for himself. He laughs every time he works on that Country Two Step and says, “ I wonder who she is tripping over right now!” Fred has become an awesome dancer!
One day while at work, Fred was helping a customer carry items to her vehicle, and along the way did a little dance step to avoid a no parking sign that she had parked in front of. In a sweet giggle she asked Fred what was that he just did. When Fred explained it was a Country Two Step dance move, she very quickly stated she had always wanted to learn how to Country Two Step! Fred introduced himself, and they began talking about dancing, music, and eventually how experienced in life he was. The customer’s name was Sarah, and they have been dating for about 6 months now. Fred has taught her to dance more than the Two Step, and even though his lessons are completed here with us, he stops by to say hi to me from time to time. Yesterday we spoke about life for a moment. I asked how Sarah was, and if there were any plans on marriage down the road. Fred’s reply almost made me cry…
“Ya know John, I came in here looking to fix a love that I thought was broken. A love that really wasn’t broken per say, just not shared by her. But what I found in trying to fix that love was the love I have for myself, and for life in general. Once that happened, true love found me, and all because of that first dance move I wanted to learn in Country Two Step. So, if you are really asking me, after two divorces and everything else I’ve been through, if Sarah and I will be getting married, I’ll just put it like this, we are taking things one dance at a time and loving each other every minute of it!”
I wanted to share these stories with you because it proves a point that I try and share with everybody. Dancing can benefit anyone and everyone, not just physically, but emotionally as well! These stories are testaments to our inner strength, our determination to improve ourselves, and goes to show that even when love is lost, it’s still there inside of us, just like dance, waiting for that connection to truly be made. It’s these stories that affect me as an instructor, because even though I don’t play a huge role in their lives, the little direction I give has influence to affect peoples lives far beyond my reach! So when you think about what it is you want in life, try to remember what it is you need in life that helps get you there. I call it the foundation step, the basic step in which all others are based upon. And when you’re ready, I’ll be glad to help you find that beginning step…
Thanks for hanging out in my Little Corner today. As always, I’m John, and I cant wait to see how Dance FX you!!!