‘Follow the lead’

Over the weekend, one of my coworkers invited me to go swing dancing. KTown Swing in Knoxville offers a three and a half hour “bootcamp” for beginner dancers. I found a sweet deal on Groupon which cut down the $50 registration fee to $21. It was an offer too good to pass up.

While I am no stranger to dancing, partner dancing is new to me. Two people dancing, learning and moving together. Weird.

I started taking lessons when I was eight. I attended Nina’s School of Dance in Durham, N.C. until I was in high school. I took tap, ballet, jazz and modern classes. I also performed in recitals or at special events around the city.

I loved performing. It gave the dancers a chance to showcase their talents.

As I got older, dancing never stopped for me. I was a cheerleader in high school. I also took dance classes in high school. I was a member of my college’s modern dance company. I had opportunities to teach and choreograph performances for recitals and pageants.

Dancing is a part of me.

KTown Swing does not have their own studio, so we gathered at a coffee house downtown that lends space to the instructors.

There were a large crowd. Some wore regular clothes while others wore dresses and dancing shoes. I went to Walmart to buy a pair of Ked-like tie up shoes for swing dancing to go with my dress. There were quite a few men and people of different ages were there too.

We got into a circle and paired up. The followers stay in place while the leaders alternated thoughout the class. This gave everyone a chance to dance with other people.

One of the issues with swing dancing for me are the roles. There’s a leader and a follower. The leader is usually the male. They are the ones that iniciate the movements for the follower.

The leader to follower ratio was off, so some people were without a partner. I was one of them. One of the instructor saw me dancing by myself, so he came up and danced with me.

The footwork in swing dancing was not challenging. I grew up taking dance classes, so I am comfortable with keeping counts and fancy footwork.

My instructor noticed that.

He suggested that I “follow the lead:” pay attention to the body language and follow the flow.

That was hard for me.

When he said those words, it’s like I saw my whole life pass before my eyes.

I am a very independent person and allowing someone to lead was hard. Giving up control of my body and my movements was hard, but I did it.

I feel like this can be applied to life. Sometimes you have to give up control in order for things to work.


Here’s a look at the steps that I learned.