The Art of Dancing or…something like it.

I am not a natural born dancer.

In college we were required to take “movement classes.”  We sort of looked like this:

 

Sort of. Anyway, this was literally more along the lines of moving, rather than dancing.

Then, we were required to take a couple of years of Jazz dance.  The first year I got through, by the skin of my teeth.  There was a lot of “do it yourself” exploration and um, I wasn’t super great with that.

Then, in my second year of jazz, it got to the point where my jazz teacher literally took me aside and said, “Casey! Stop thinking so much! Just feel it!”  I was so…hopeless I guess.  I mean, isn’t this stuff supposed to come as part of a built-in package of being an actor?  I guess not.

Well, that summer I didn’t think about dance at all. Not once.

Then, that fall I made myself sign up for Jazz III AND Musical Dance.  Why?  Because it terrified me.  So  I figured there had to be something worth learning there, right?  Sure.

The first week of class was a breeze.  It was as though my muscles had a mind of their own (Um. What dancers or anyone else would call “muscle memory.”)  I wasn’t thinking!  And that was the key.  It was all about noting it, feeling it, dancing it.  Sweet!  I actually did learn a lot.  Mostly to be braver. Especially when it came to musical dance.  But that’s a whole another blog.

So let’s fast forward to this past summer.  Dillon gets it in his lovely little head that we should take ballroom dance lessons!

The last time before I had any sort of ballroom instruction was on an unfortunate evening on a community theater stage where we had to learn how to waltz.  Let’s just say the instructor had  one hand a little too…directly under my chest.  One forward progression of that and I had enough.  Thank God Jim was there and literally whisked me away with the CORRECT version of how to waltz.  An only slightly scarring experience.

Anyway, I thought Dillon had a fantastic idea.  However, I will admit that I started to get nervous just thinking about it.  “Oh no. I have forgotten everything!  This is gonna suck!”

Our first day of class, I kid you not….Dillon and I walk down into the studio with wood sprung floors, and what do we see?  A glitzy couple flowing like the breeeze across the dance floor.  Might I add…they were wearing costumes.  No I mean it.  Black, Red, sparkly costumes.  They were also smiling at a pretend audience.  That’s when I knew I was in deep.

To be honest I can’t remember the name of our instructor, but she was petite, a sheet of muscle, and she had an accent because she was from Ukraine or something.

“He has very beeg heel yes?  Grab it, ooo is strong yes?”  – a reference to proper form / strategic hand and arm placement.  In this case, his bicep.

Well, we danced.  It was so easy! I mean, for the most part.  These were all steps I had learned years before, and I was picking them right back up. SO EXCITING.  And surprisingly SO SWEATY too!  I had forgotten about that part.

It was fun. Until we found out how much they were going to charge for a month’s worth of lessons.  Trust me, you don’t want to know.  We had to keep reminding them that we weren’t interested in competitive dancing.

Fast forward to last week!  Dillon’s mom sent us an email about ongoing lessons nearby.  And what did we do!?

We signed up for SWING class (hardly any experience here) and ballroom (experienced enough).  And you know who else signed up for swing class? MY PARENTS!

If you know anything about my father in particular, then you know that this should play out like a sitcom.  I will be sure to update you on that.  Let’s put it this way…by the end of our first class this week, the instructor was saying, “T for Tim?  Maybe it’s T for Trouble!”

So, many of you reading probably think that dance is a very stressful experience for me.  Well, it used to be.   Well okay not used to be, it sometimes is. But I LOVE it!  It is so much fun.  It is a great way to build focus, blow off steam, and overall feel pretty cool about yourself at the end of the day.

It’s also a great way for me to tame my type-a personality and realize HEY you know what?  You don’t have to be perfect to do something you love.

All I know is, Dillon and I have plans every night now that involve practicing our waltz to Alicia Keys.  And that’s all I have to say about that.

 

 

 

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Inspiration

Sometimes it’s just a thought, a word, a small…action.  Sometimes you have a stray thought in the back of your mind, and a friend or a family member, seemingly out of thin air, picks it out and lays it on the table.

Folks, I’m telling you, I had one of these experiences recently.

See, it normally takes me a long time to make an important decision.  I weigh all of my facts, pros, cons, circumstances, usually until I want to cry from mental exhaustion.  I envy the people who go through life on impulsive decisions.  Sure, they’re bound to smack their head into a couple of brick walls, but at least they JUST DO IT.

Don’t get me wrong…once I make a decision, it’s full throttle, 100% I’m completely in.  But until then…

Okay, okay.  SO…a few days after Christmas, Dillon and I got together with some two of my college friends.  We spent some quality time with their new baby.  (She loved my obnoxious shirt and sparkly dangly earrings!)  It was lovely, needless to say.  We ate Thai food, we chatted about life, acting, what’s up next for us…you know, the basic catching up with friends-type-thing.

Later on, I was talking alone with my friend Ali.  She said something that was so utterly perfectly what I needed to hear, that I nearly combusted into flames of joy.

Okay so I have probably intrigued you a bit and you want to know the specifics.  For now, that is not of importance.  However, what is important is that the very thought that had been slushing around in my brain for a long time was picked up by a good friend who somehow said what I needed to hear.

After that day I couldn’t help but notice that my thoughts were building and coagulating around this one trigger, so to speak.  One thing lead to another and I was on the brink of making a decision…

It wasn’t until New Year’s Day when Dillon, his brother, Jacob, and my two friends from New Hampshire were sitting down with us at a diner having breakfast.  I don’t think they said anything in particular, but as I looked across at my friends, took in my surroundings and shoved a hot forkful of homefries in my mouth, that I realized…wow…Timing + friends + love = inspiration.

It’s times like these when I realize again (and..again!) that these things do not happen by accident…they happen for a reason!  I think one of the reasons we are here is to be inspired to be our best selves.  People say “happiness” is the reason and I say YES exactly!  For me, when I finally make a decision about myself, my life, who I want to be, who I want IN my life…I am so incredibly happy.

So just a thought for you all.  This year, really LISTEN to the people around you.  Not the haters or negative bags of bloat.  But when someone you love or trust says something from the heart…listen.  Because you never know.  It may be just the thing you needed to hear.