First, the good news. Our social distancing requirements are easing, and we are more and more able to meet socially. Our facilities are opening up more, and SaddleBrooke Ballroom Dance Club (SBDC) has scheduled activities. Those of us who have felt unsafe during the pandemic are starting to feel safer. That’s all great. But, as we return to a more normal lifestyle, we do face challenges. Based on conversations with dancing friends, I have found some themes. Many of us say that we don’t remember all the steps that we did so naturally 16 months ago. Some suggest that while they are feeling safer, partnering up with friends still stimulates a little fear of contagion. We all remember differently, so two partners who danced smoothly months ago might remember different steps now and have trouble dancing as naturally as they did before. So, what should we do to make this transition back to normalcy go smoothly? The web and conversations with dancing friends have generated some ideas.
First, remember that we are the people we have always been. The pandemic caused many changes, but it didn’t necessarily change us as people.
Second, let’s remind ourselves that this rustiness is temporary. When we re-engage in our dancing, the love of it will help to relearn moves more quickly than we might think. Let’s celebrate each success.
Third, let’s remember that we are not alone. Almost everyone I’ve talked to has observed that returning to dancing is a little awkward. Let’s be mutually supportive, praising every success we see and offering positive input when our friends become a little frustrated.
Fourth, we need to be sure we are physically safe. Many of us have not been as active as we were before the pandemic. Our balance and strength may be down a little. So, let’s phase dancing in gradually, dancing every other dance instead of every dance, for example, until our physical selves are back to normal.
Fifth, showing respect for one another will be extra important, as will accommodating one another’s differences. Let’s ask for consent more often, as in, “Would you like a hug?” or “Are you comfortable doing this step?” Let’s accept the responses to our questions with grace. We are all still relearning. Consider returning to dance a second time with a partner, even if things weren’t as smooth and easy in your first dance together as you remembered they were more than a year ago.
Finally, add some small group practices at home with some friends. The more intimate setting will help you feel safe and confident as you brush up on your favorite steps.
Let’s start dancing! SBDC has weekly and monthly events scheduled. For a full calendar, go to the SBDC website, www.sbballroomdance.com, where you can also become a member and register for email updates. We look forward to meeting you in the SaddleBrooke Ballroom Dance Club, where the learning continues, and the fun never ends.