For about half of my life I’ve “joked” that my dad wanted two boys, he and my mom had two girls instead, and he raised us like boys anyway. Fitting in (stereotypically) with this idea, I grew up playing baseball, not learning ballet. The closest I got to any kind of graceful movement with my body was taking gymnastics, but I stopped when my sister stopped at the age of six or seven when she broke her arm. At that age I was still pretty incapable of doing anything on my own, which is something I touch on in the letter I wrote to my 10-year-old self. In any case, because I started playing sports at a young age, I’ve never “run like a girl” or “thrown like a girl.” However, I’ve also never really danced like a girl. Or, if I’m being fair, like any human at all.
Despite participating in many a dance-off with my childhood girlfriends, I never quite got the hang of it. I was even musically inclined from a young age—being first chair flute in middle school, and playing the piano for years during adolescence—but moving my body to music never really clicked. The older I got, the more self-conscious I was about my inability to dance, and the more reluctant I was to do anything—like take a dance class—to improve on my nonexistent skills.
Sure, I could sort of fake it at school dances and not stand out too much, mostly because everyone was pretty awkward at those events anyway, but after high school it didn’t take long for me to realize how bad I was at dancing. Fortunately, there wasn’t a whole lot of dancing in college, or if there was, everyone was too drunk to notice how anyone else was moving, or not moving, to the beat.
Enter me as an adult, working on a cruise ship. Though my job title was Librarian, I was part of the Entertainment Department, which meant I had to participate in many activities outside of the library to help entertain the guests. One such activity was helping teach line dancing, for which I was obviously extremely ill-prepared. But, as it was part of my job, I had no choice but to participate. And with enthusiasm!
The first class I attended—to help teach—I had no idea what I was doing. Luckily, I worked with a great group of people, and I was able to learn pretty quickly. Also, for those who have ever line danced and know, it’s a pretty easy type of dance to figure out. It caters to those, like myself, who are unable to move their bodies to the beat in any kind of attractive fashion.
Not only did I learn how to do the dances, but soon I was able to help teach them to the guests! My moves are far from world class, and are still entertaining more for the laughs they induce than anything else, but I am happy to say that not only have I taken a dance class, but I have helped teach numerous classes as well.