Ballroom Dance Competition – Me?

I’m not sure how it happened.

Dan and I started ballroom dance lessons because my client, Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Bloomfield Hills, wanted me to have the experience of their students to really be able to help promote the business. Fair enough.

At first, my hubby and I did it out of obligation. We arrived in whatever we were wearing (jeans, sweaters, clumsy sneakers) and plodded along the parquet. It was fine. It was nice. I gritted my teeth as he stepped on my toes and guiltily wondered if I needed a different dance partner.

We attended our lessons and sometimes canceled or rescheduled and big chunks of time went by between lessons.

But then something shifted, and I blame it on the shoes.

We decided to bring different shoes to the lesson because it’s really hard to be graceful in sneakers. I brought my shiny blue patent Mary Jane high heels and Dan brought his sleek black dress shoes.

Shoes on, we were transformed. Suddenly, we were Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire gliding along the dance floor. I didn’t wear shleppy clothes because they wouldn’t go with my shoes – so I looked good!

And it felt good, too. We found our synergy, and our rhythm, and suddenly we were laughing and enjoying each other and flirting.


So then the instructor says, “You should do team match.”

Um, what’s that?

A laid-back competition between students of the local studio on a Friday night, this Friday night, where you dance in various heats to show that you know the steps.

So he showed us how we walk elegantly onto the dance floor arm in arm, and start the minute the music begins, and show that we know the steps. And then bow and curtsy at the end.

“Do you have a cocktail dress?” he asked me. Um, really? I prefer my Athleta leggings, thank you very much. And he tells Dan to wear a button down and vest (vest??). Not sure what will happen there.

So I awoke this morning before the sun thinking how crazy we are to add a dance competition to an already packed weekend.

Except we’re not canceling.

Because it really is fun.

I’m imagining what my family will say at the Mother’s Day brunch this weekend when they hear we danced in a ballroom competition Friday night. Laughter? Very possibly. Incredulity? Definitely. I can see my dad’s eyes going wide.

We’re going. We have found a new way to connect and have fun together, and we really do have a rhythm. There’s this way my husband moves his hips now that I didn’t think was possible. He was always the epitome of Billy Crystal in When Harry Met Sallydoing the white man’s overbite and now he’s got some style and soul.

You never know what you can do until you do it. And as a couple in middle-age, I’m pretty impressed that we’re doing this because it’s an easy way to exercise, to rediscover one another, to go out and have a great time.

Thanks to Evan Mountain, the owner of Fred Astaire and my devoted client, for forcing us to dance. I had no idea how much fun it would be. And life’s gotta have a hefty dose of fun or it just isn’t worth it.

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