Our Dancing Universe and Our Beginning Triumph

Elita Sohmer Clayman


Rachel and Mike are two dancers who live out west. They have been married for thirty-five years and have been dancing for only five years. They write that since they have been dancing, they are not as bored as they used to be. They are bored with

things in general and not with each other is how they explain it.

On those nights of boredom, they get out their dance shoes and go down to the family room and practice what they have learned in their dance class. They take private lessons with a great coach and when practicing, they relieve their boredom.

Boredom can be defined in several ways. It can be said we are bored because we have nothing of interest to peak our solitude. Someone once said that boredom is what happens when we lose contact with the universe.

What is the universe meaning in our daily lives? Universe is space and space is what we have in our own particular life. We have space in our house, we have space in our car, we have space in our hearts and we have space in our thoughts. It is what we do with that personal space that makes us into the unique person we are and we can be.

When my husband and I first started to take ballroom dance lessons way back on November 2, 1977, we thought that ten lessons were sufficient and we would be better than Fred and Ginger. The studio where we took our lessons had a large and general room and a smaller room. We being novices chose the smaller room and we stayed in that tiny area for at least a year.

The coach wanted us to expand our ‘universe’ and to come out and dance in the larger room. I and we declined. We liked our individual area and we felt content in being there. We liked the private area and we felt no one could see us dance or learn to dance and that was fine. One day, we were informed that we could no longer use that modest space, we had to come out and learn to dance in a larger area. We were told that would enhance our dancing and it would be good for our minds,

On the way home, I told my husband that I did not think we would be happy in this new situation. We decided to try it one time and that we did because we had to. The one time turned out to be pleasant and out of the small universe we came into the gigantic room or so it seemed at that time. Now we look back and see that the second room may have been larger than the other room but it was really not that large.

Many new people learning to dance feel that they cannot be out in the public areas because they will be watched. When we first started, we could not figure out what dance music was being played. Was it a rumba or a waltz; was it a cha-cha or a swing dance? There was an obnoxious woman there who had been dancing for many years and she knew our dilemma which is a universal one for all new dancers. Her name was Jean. She was a big woman with a booming voice.

She would scream out" Jerry, it is a waltz, go do a waltz. Elita, it is a cha-cha, go and do it". She made our dance nights a horror. Finally, one day, I said to her "Jean, kindly keep your thoughts to yourself. We will figure out eventually what dance is being played."

What she had done was to invade our ‘universe’ and she immersed herself into our lives and we were unwilling to let her do that. As time rolled on, we were able as are most new dancers, to know what dance to dance to at the event. By putting herself into our space and doing it in an uninspiring manner, she almost turned us off on ballroom dancing.That would have been a crime against a new dancing couple. No one with compassion or good sense would do that to a new dancing couple.

We persevered and many years later, I saw others doing the same hollering out to new dancers. I always politely told them, let the new dancer figure it out for themselves, it is more beneficial to their learning process. All dancers will figure out what to do and that comes with the enlightenment technique. It has been said that learning is a companion on a journey to something new.

Our universe is made up of our daily activities and we have the power to invade our own space and to do what we want with it. If we want to dance to establish a fine hobby into our expanse, all the more power to us.

If we want to do something else, that is our authorization and endorsement to our own being that we are special and we know what is good for our self.

We do not need someone to holler or advise us what to do with our personal time. We need only to take the advice from our heart and soul as to what will make us happy. Seniors, especially have the right to do what is best for their personal needs. Seniors have earned the opportunity at this point in their moment of time to finally do a good deed for their own being.

Ballroom dancing enhances, enlarges, excites and entertains our soul. Sometimes when we dance, our soles may get tired, but our souls and our hearts overflow with accomplishment and achievement and overall fulfillment.

I write this column on being age 77 and 4 months, and I know that I have realized a conquest, because I became a ballroom dancer at age forty-three and now almost thirty-four years later, I can say that my universe is full of glorious stars because anyone who ballroom dances and especially seniors have brightened up their universe.

Follow your heart and soul and go out and ballroom dance and you will have enlarged your life from a tiny room unto a larger area and eventually the large area will seem that it is the best spot in the universe to embellish and beautify your spirit. You are a positive and golden spirit. You are an elite affirmation of a senior who has done his or her best at this golden age. The meaning of my name Elita in the name books means little star. I am not a little star, I am a big star on this planet and my job is to encourage, enlighten, inspire and to assist seniors and even not yet seniors that there is something so fine out there for you to attain as a new hobby.

Jose Rene Martinez known as J.R., who is a wounded warrior from the current Iraq war overseas, shines even though his facial features have been altered by terror, being in the armed forces. His face shines, his attitude is perfect, his demeanor is unbelievable and most of all the confidence he receives from the accolades laid on his dance performance lights up his eyes. This is something he has succeeded at with his professional partner who gave him the desire to excel and it did not matter whether his face had been damaged by a land mine or whatever harmed him. His spirit was elevated from a lot of ballroom learning, ballroom etiquette and ballroom knowledge. No one sees him as a person of facial problems; they see him as an excellent dancer who shines on the dance floor with a brilliant smile and a happy time. He is a current participant with his professional partner on Dancing With The Stars and believe me, he is the ultimate shining star regardless of his damaged face. He exudes the glory of being alive even with limitations. There actually is nothing he cannot attain with this disposition and frame of mind.

Bravo to ballroom dancing that can do that for him and for the rest of us prospective and current dancers, let that be a lesson in courage for you for anything you face- pun intended. J.R. is indeed a person who conquered the worse feeling a person can have about him or herself and that is to look in the mirror and see a different person. He is not different, he is the same good guy he probably always was and now he is a super personality showing the world that nothing could deter him or inhibit him. The professional teacher has put off her wedding date to insure that she is around to continue to coach him to the winning moment. That moment if and when it happens, will be a final triumph to his dancing abilities and a beginning triumph to the rest of his life.

Elita Sohmer Clayman
November 2011

You can email me at elitajerrydancing@verizon.net .


Published by René Zgraggen
Montgomery, AL