Last night Levin asked me to dance. I’ve admired Levin’s dancing for a long time, partly because he’s really, really good, but also because he radiates such joy when he’s dancing. He’s a delight to watch. I knew that the song was a little too fast for me, but I wasn’t about to turn down a dance with this guy! Who knew if he would ever ask me again? So I put my hand in his and went out on the floor. Let me tell you, friends, God bless that guy for his patience, cuz he knew precisely how much Charleston I know by the end of the dance. It was a little like being systematically catechized. Here’s what was going through my head: Oh, I know this one – wait, that was that one move, only I wasn’t against his hip so I didn’t know that was what he was leading – I have no freakin’ clue what this is – oh, whoops! I think that was Breakaway, but I totally missed it! – oh, hey, I haven’t done this one before, it’s fun! – whoops! Missed the lead again! Yeah, it wasn’t pretty.
Now the thing is that six months ago a dance like that would have crushed my ego for days. I would have been pit-of-my-stomach sure that I totally sucked as a dancer and for the good of humanity I should stop putting innocent guys through the torture of dancing with me. But that didn’t happen. The simple truth is that, while I’m a fairly competent dancer when it comes to East Coast or Lindy Hop, I know very little Charleston. Consequently, I don’t dance Charleston much (at all), and the guys I dance with regularly don’t lead me into Charleston. And that’s ok. I’m a good dancer. I don’t know Charleston. Someday I’ll learn more Charleston, and that will be ok too. When I was getting ready to leave for the night, I went to Levin and thanked him for the dance. He looked a tiny bit uncomfortable. Then I told him that one day I would dance with him again, it would be a slower song, and I would be much better! At that, he laughed, and gave me a huge smile. And it was good.