This year edition of Dancing Poznań is over. The last workshop took place last Saturday and I’m still thinking about it. How was it? – everybody asks. And I don’t know what to tell them. Seriously. There are so many words that describe how it was, starting with challenging, interesting, funny, hard, awesome … but none of these words describes it ALL. So, it looks like you need to read the whole story to know how Dancing Poznań was for me.
It started rather unpleasantly to me: I woke up at 7:00 a.m. on Saturday to be there on time and just when I arrived to the city center, when our classes took place, I got informed it all starts the next day. Right. So all I did that day instead of dancing was to return home. The information provided by organizers was somehow unclear to me which was the reason of my mistake. There are things to improve here. The first pancake is always spoiled. No worries. I had still a positive mindset before next day.
Sunday morning, 7:00 a.m. again and this time I was in the right place at the right time (despite the beginning of roadworks, or 3 different ones along my route, and huge traffic jams to be precise). On site I met my friend who encouraged me to participate in this whole thing, a bunch of enthusiastic ladies of all ages, and a tutor: Bill. Now, I think that if you have ever thought about dancing choose your tutor wisely. Bill was totally awesome. You could tell from the first minute he enjoys both: dancing AND teaching, which I think is crucial. From this point of view I was really lucky! And the most important characteristics of a tutor to all beginners is his patience. No shouting, no making fun of you, no making scenes. It was really a huge comfort to work with Bill, who has a long teaching experience and probably dealt with less accomplished students throughout his career.
First lesson reminded me why I hated dance so much: the task of rising my RIGHT hand and LEFT leg at the same time and then switch quickly was absolutely impossible. I got so frustrated! I thought that if I started learning to dance after a long brake the coordination will come naturally. Apparently not. Lesson learnt? PROBLEM never goes away just because of WAITING and DOING NOTHING.
Right. So there I was: with my frustration and a total disbelieve that this time I would finally deal with this issue. All Bill said to me, watching my desperate attempts of making it right, was: “Trust me. By the end of this course you WILL dance“. I thought: “No way“, and said nothing.
By the end of the third lesson I got familiar with the music of warm up and first three steps of our group choreography we suppose to dance at the end of the course. Not much as for the middle of the course, is it? I must say the third day was really tough. Only because I was desperate to stay until the very end to write this summary for you kept me going. Oh, and Bill’s attitude too. So with dancing, like with everything else, the progress is SLOW. And you need to be patient. There is no other way.
When fourth day came I was so into this course that I was humming the lead soundtrack all day long and had steps in front of my eyes when I was falling asleep. Thank God I was so busy watching my own feet it was already forth day when I started to look around. Then I saw few ladies who were much better than I was, simply because it was 4th, 7th or even 11th time for them. The worst you can do is start comparing yourself with other. DON’T. It’s useless and it drains you out of self confidence.
“Focus – I was telling myself – right leg, step, left hand, rock step, turn a-round, and raise your hands”. Over and over again. The forth day brought a break through: when I concentrated hard enough I was able to follow about half of the whole group choreography. So far, so good.
Last two days I started to actually hear the music. I swear! Before that I was so focused on my own feet and counting I was not hearing anything else. And that day Bill said: “Now you need to relax and enjoy yourself while dancing“. Easier said then done. But there I was and there was no way back. I was lucky again because the music Bill chosen was fantastic: a real swing jazz performed by the best band, with very strong beat and easy to hear sequences matched with steps.
And eventually, the very last day and very last tryout I danced from the very beginning to the very end WITHOUT one mistake!
Lesson learnt? BILL WAS RIGHT.
No, seriously, I’ve learnt a lot and I’m not thinking about steps. It was all about learning myself.
I was really surprised how good my body reacts to this sort of exercises. I am a long distance runner with highly developed resistance to effort rather than a ballerina but intense stretching was excellent supplement to my daily training. True: I was more tired than when exercises were limited to the usual running but it was bearable.
Second thing that really surprised me were other participants of this course. All girls were smashing! They never protested when I was doing some photos or videos, they were always enthusiastic and very determined. A company of such positive people made me feel good!
I haven’t participated in the final show. I know, I know, I should have. But even though I repeated all steps’ sequence with my group I felt I was not ready to participate a public show. I’m not there yet. But I will, eventually. And I am pretty sure I’ll join the 2015 edition. And will dance in the evening show with everybody.
My dancing is still not perfect, I sometimes make a wrong move with my hands, sometimes lose rhythm but the most important thing I have learnt is that this DOES NOT MATTER. All that really matters is a positive mindset, self confidence and sincere joy of doing things.
And I guess this is true for all activities, all ventures and all brilliant ideas. Always.
P.S. I’m working on a short video that will take to that workshop and show how it was. But you need to be patient as this takes a lot of time.