Yee Haw …..the Monster Mash Ya’ll

13 Oct

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In an earlier post, I mentioned that I have been dancing with zombies and it’s true!  Everyone has a bucket list of things to do before you die right? (Note: things you want to do before you die, not things that make you die from laughter).  Well, my list seems to comprise itself with things that I never expected to do, but somehow get added to the list out of sheer luck!  I never imagined that when I began taking dance lessons (bucket list item) that I would get to dance with a zombie!!  I know, I know! Talk about the chance of a lifetime.

A few months ago I signed up for group lessons in country/western dance.   The 2-step and polka.  Both of which require a partner.  Most people take partner style dance lessons with a partner, but not Joan!  The studio manager assured me there would be other partner-less participants in the class and yes there were 2 others.  One other bold single woman like me and one man.    Let’s begin.

Lesson 1:  Learning to dance with a partner is a new concept for me and one I am not too comfortable with because it requires trusting the man to lead.  In life, this has not worked out well for me!  The man has to know his moves, constantly be thinking about what to do next, keep his eye on other dancers so as to avoid a collision and is responsible for the appearance of the couple in motion.  All the woman really has to do is know the footwork and trust her partner.   Um….FIRST BIG OBSTACLE.  Based on my experience, I anticipate spending a lot of time picking my ass up off the dance floor.  I left the first lesson wondering if I could really do it.  Trust a partner to lead that is.  But the sessions are prepaid and I decided I would give it a whirl.

Lesson 2:  I chose country/western dancing because it seemed the easiest for a beginner like me.  2-step = slow, slow, quick, quick footwork and polka has only 3 steps.  OK.  I got this!  After a few minutes the instructor announces it’s time to pair up and put on the music.  Oh the horror.  The token single guy walks up, the music starts and there are 2 arms sticking straight out in front of him, stiff as if he just arose from the grave.  I try to position my arms atop the boards that beckon and then the ghoulish contortions begin. I quickly found myself in self defense of each step he took as one leg flew out in front of the other narrowly missing my shins on the way up, then crashing down with a thud dangerously close to my feet.  It didn’t take but a minute to realize I was paired with a zombie and he was doing the march of the undead.  March (slow), March (slow), march-march (quick-quick).  All the while he is shoving me backwards with such force all I can do is stumble.  I’m trying my hardest to recover and get us back in step when zombie-man growls…”LET ME LEAD”.   So I did.  I stiffened and zombie-marched to a 4-4 beat for another 30 minutes or so.  A couple of times I glanced in the mirror that spans the back wall of the studio and there was Joan and Franken-Zombie clomping straight-armed and stumbling.  It was like a scene from Night of the Living Dead set to music.  We did the mash…..we did the monster mash.

After a couple of songs, we broke apart to learn the mechanics of an underarm turn and then paired up again.  My Don Juan of the Living Dead partner assured me he could lead the turn because he had plenty of experience doing it in the clubs.  Ya right.  Clearly that’s not working out too well for you Franken-Zombie or you wouldn’t be here.   In fact, it took several weeks for my shoulder to heal from being ripped from the socket with each attempt at him leading the turn.  I believe his smooth moves must have been learned on the playground when he was ten.  It’s as if he was in a shoving match with another adolescent.  Oh ya?  Take that! (shove)     Turn woman! (shove….with a forceful jerk on my arm)  Oh…you want me to turn there?  I was too busy managing not to fall and trying not to yell out in pain zombie-man.  FYI…I’ll do a double spin if you just set it up properly.

“You really don’t have this down yet, do you?” , he spouted arrogantly.

I was about to just throw in the towel, when the instructor asked if anyone needed help and Franken-Zombie was quick to point out that (I) did.  With that, the instructor swept me into dance position, skillfully led me through the basic steps and effortlessly through the underarm turn, and then another turn and on around the dance floor!   When we were out of Franken-Zombie’s earshot, the instructor smiled and told me,  it’s not you”.    In that moment, the nightmare ended and a wave of relief came over me.  He had no way of knowing the amount of confidence his words bestowed not only in my dancing ability but in my ability to trust the lead.  I now realize that the key is having something to trust in.    And so……I continue to dance.  Sometimes the 2-step, sometimes the polka and yes,….sometimes the Monster Mash with Franken-Zombie.     Happy Halloween!

I know you are jealous of my dancing with a zombie, so for those interested in learning the Franken-Walk in time for Halloween:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wqQHDJeYhoA

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