June 6, 2013
In this monthly column, DiDi LeMay shares adventures from her busy life in the exciting multicultural city of Toronto.
I love watching “Dancing with the Stars.” I wish I was one of the contestants, elegantly gliding along the dance floor with a waltz, happily hopping around in a foxtrot or sensationally shaking my booty with a Cha-Cha.
A few years ago, while I was teaching ESL, my Brazilian students asked me if they could host a Salsa dance night. I thought it was a great idea. The students would bring in their music and teach whoever wanted to learn Salsa.
Here was my chance to swing and shake on the dance floor myself. Little did I know that my sense of rhythm or my sense of “where my feet go” stood in the way of me becoming a dancer. I wasn’t asking for much, I just wanted to be an average dancer.
The evening arrived and 20 people eager to learn to dance arrived — I was one of them.
As the Brazilian ESL students prepared and gave instructions, my mind wandered. I could almost see myself dancing and the other dancers stopping to watch me as I twirled around.
The other dance students got the hang of it pretty quickly. They moved their feet to the rhythm, got their feet in the right places and were twirled around. They made it look so very easy.
I, on the other hand, stood in a corner, concentrating on the steps, not hearing any of the music.
“One, two, three,” I muttered, “one, two, three.”
“No teacher, not your left foot, your right foot first,” said the student who was helping me.
With a sigh, I started again. “Right foot — one, two, three — left foot — one two three.”
“Listen to the music, feel the rhythm” whispered the student patiently.
“Don’t have time, gotta count,” I whispered back
Finally, after all the others were swinging on the dance floor, my student, exasperated with my lack of “dance-sense,” said, “Just do something.”
And that I did!
I stopped counting, listened to the music and started dancing. Arms swinging, hips swaying and feet moving, I danced my way to the dance floor.
And that is when my dream came true. While I was moving to the rhythm, with no inhibitions as I danced, I stopped the other dancers. As a matter of fact, I stopped the music.
As I slowed down, I looked up and saw a sea of faces. All of them were staring at me. But not in the way I had envisioned in my dream — you know, in awe of my talents.
No, all were staring at me with a mixture of confusion and horror. I realized that my dancing was not as good as I saw myself in my mind’s eye.
But this does not deter me from dancing at all. It is my own, be it awkward, expression. So, every week when “Dancing with the Stars” is on, my living room becomes my personal dance floor and I whole-heartedly dance away in front of my TV.