Dance. Marriage. They serve each other as metaphors.
The Story in the Dance
Part of the charm swing dancing held for me in my early California days was its expression of manhood and womanhood. I noticed right away that it anchored men in their responsibility
1) to initiate the relationship (from the sweet, genteel May I have this dance? still extant in ballrooms) 2) to lead his partner gently through to the end.
I could slide out to the floor knowing virtually nothing of the steps the song calls for, but ended up looking like a queen when I allowed myself to lean into the cues of my skillful partner. When I relaxed under his control, the dance turned out smooth, fun, elegant. He turned my wrist, knowing where he wanted to take me in the next part of the song, and my feet somehow followed. In strong, watchful arms, I even did aerials. I flew. When he was insensitive, busy enjoying himself; or plain clumsy, I got injured. On my part, I could usually attempt only moves my partner knew. No matter that I had just learned some cool steps in a class if he didn’t allow me to showcase them. The night I met my husband, he made room in the dance for me to spin and sashay hips in a way not usually done in Swing, blending my elaboration into his choreography. The times I tensed with other men, especially in the exasperated judgment that they didn’t know what they were doing, we went out of sync and lost cadence and harmony. Which meant that oddly, yes, when I swallowed the impatience and went along with the artless motions of a dud of a dancer, we actually ended up looking pretty okay as a couple. He could take lessons, and come back new and improved. But as long as he was a botch-up all I could do to salvage us in that dance was to go along.
The Story in the Marriage
The longer you stay married, the more you experience the ways you can keep in step with one another and enjoy the music or slip into a dysfunctional waltz where you keep tripping your partner: pull or push too hard, lead without seeing the other, or refuse to follow in trust. It really is a holistic journey, so simple we miss it. All a dance is, is a pattern. The Lindy, 123 and 4, 567 and 8. Repeat. It is math in music. A healthy relationship builds on a pattern of ingenuous courtesy. You keep in tune to each other’s wishes.
The video was taken at our wedding reception which we held at the ballroom where we had met. We couldn’t run for you the original music from the reception for copyright issues, nor could we shorten it readily so if you don’t have two minutes, please don’t bother seeing it through.
I’m clearly no dancer. Peter is a different story. It was his impromptu idea at the wedding celebration that we enact how he’d approached me that fateful night we danced as strangers. So I stood again on the very spot where he’d first asked me
I just realized it was today in May, nine years ago, that we met. Happy Anniversary, Honey. Sorry I kept talking about dancing with other guys.