Confidence's role in  Dance

I was forty-four when I started taking ballroom dance lesson and a year or so later to compete as an amateur with my pro teacher, the professional. It was called pro-am. Before I danced in that category, I appeared at the dance studio in a fancy and specially bought cocktail dress and danced before dancers at the studio. Many I knew, others I did not. While I was dancing and very nervous to be that age and dancing before a crowd, one of the patrons there, a very obnoxious fellow named Pat yelled out "smile, baby smile." I heard that and felt peculiar, but I smiled.

A few months later my pro teacher and I, the amateur danced in a competition in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. I was among about eight couples and came in sixth which was pretty good for the first experience competing.

A year so so later, I went with my husband and this coach to Florida and danced there in seven heats as they are called and won five trophies. I was so excited and when I came home I displayed my five on specially built shelves in the kitchen. I dust them every week. Now I have fifty-eight trophies and medals and certificates.

When we came home from Florida, I wrapped my five trophies in towels I had 'taken' from the hotel. They checked our carry on luggage and from the bag they were in, they looked like guns or rifles. The checker opened each towel and saw they were trophies, looked at me and smiled and said OK, go forward. I was embarrassed they were in towels from the hotel but proud I at that age had won them.

Winning gives you more confidence in your dancing abilities and great ego enhancement for your mind and body and soul. I continued to take ballroom dance lessons long before the craze that has now hit the country from the dancing shows on now.

We ballroom dancers knew back then in the seventies and eighties that ballroom dancing excites the brain, stimulates the brain and causes adoration in one's heart for having accomplished this great feat. No pun intended but the feat stimulates the feet to move and to be active and to create.

Creating is what it is all about and as you age and now it is thirty years later, I am so proud that I took up this 'hobby' and not only does it elevate one's self to feel proud but it invigorate and stimulates your personal growth and lights a fire under you.

A good fire that warms your entire being and keeps the mind enlivened and refreshed.

Any one who is thinking about taking up this form of dance, do not thing you have to wear skimpy costumes, take seven hour a day coaching or show off half of your body as they do on Dancing With The Stars.This is not real ballroom dancing as we do, this is show-off for television hoopla.

Real ballroom dancing is for real and everyday people. Try it, you will be delighted.

Watching a television old movie on the Lifetime Channel recently I was interested in the unusual storyline. A young woman was dying from a disease and her son who was about thirteen years old was so sad. It was Christmas Eve and he went to a department store to buy his mom a pair of red shoes. His idea on the subject was that he wanted her to have new shoes when she met God and danced up in heaven. He did not have the full price of the pair of shoes and as he emptied his piggy bank in the store, the clerk said he was short five dollars. He was so sad and the customer behind him paid the five dollars for the child. He told the good samaritan that he would pay him back someday. 

He ran home and gave the shoes to his mom who was lying in bed and she hugged him and said it was the prettiest pair of shoes she had ever seen. Of course as in stories, she died a few minutes later holding on to the child, the shoes and her husband. 

Many years later, the good samaratin was in the cemetery visiting his own mom's grave and there was a young fellow about twenty-two visiting his mom's grave.  They chatted and when the young man walked away you saw the red pair of shoes on the grave. Of course, that was far fetched that the shoes would be still there on the grave for about   fourteen years and in good shape too. He told the older man that he was in medical school and he had come to visit during the semester break his mom as the older man was doing too. 

We were led to believe that this was the man in the store who had given the remaining money for the shoes over fourteen years ago. It made for a sweet ending that the two met again. 

The boy's thoughts that he wanted his mom to have new shoes for her heaven time was also sweet and dear.  

None of us want to think about this but the sweetness of the child in wanting his mom presented to God so she could dance before him brings to mind that when we dance, we dance mainly for ourselves and our self-esteem

The cardiologist that I went to  yesterday for a checkup told me that my losing the seventy pounds this year along with Weight Watchers guidance was a marvelous thing not only for my health but for my self esteem. So when we accomplish difficult activities like losing weight, learning to dance or maybe volunteering for a special event, then that elevates our own self-esteem. The cardiologist who himself is quite esteemed in his profession told me that he volunteers in a clinic for people without insurance every Monday night after he finishes up his work at the office. Other days he is busy operating and doing heart procedures. His name is Dr. Cummings and I really admired him for doing the volunteer work after such a busy day and days. 

We all can volunteer in a different way. We can encourage others to dance, to even try it if they are a bit hesitant. As Weight Watcher leaders say at the weekly lecture, just walking into the door of the room where the weekly meeting takes place is an accomplishment and a victory. To heavy people going the first time there is a great beginning of a long journey into absolute

fulfillment and attainment. So too is coming into a studio or hall where you are going to try and learn to dance and you are so scared and apprehensive. If we can volunteer our encouragement to someone new, then we have done a mitzvah ( good deed). So always remember that if you encourage only one person and that person later on encourages another person, then the chain of dance survives and so many people are happier for this happening. 

You do not need to buy someone a pair of dance shoes as the young boy did, you need only to enhance someone's life by telling them to go out and try dancing. Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote a poem that started out this way

"How do I love thee, let me count the ways." We can apply that to ourselves by saying How do I love dancing, let me count the ways. One of the ways is to always inspire others to do this too and instill in them that they have the spirit to conquer any fears they have at any age to begin this journey into self esteem, accomplishment and happiness. Dance brings all that to our lives every day that we participate  in doing it.

Keep on Dancing.

Elita Sohmer Clayman

January 2010

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Published by René Zgraggen
Montgomery, AL