Strangers, In A City Burning

Things just keep humming along here, with nothing really changing on the dance front. There was talk of more studios looking at offering group classes outdoors, but so far nothing has come from all that talk. In my part of the world studios are still *supposed* to be closed, but I have heard a few different accounts that some are allowing their instructors to schedule times to teach private lessons. While technically that is against the lock-down rules that are still in place, I imagine people would just look the other way if they saw that it was happening. After all, there are greater things to be worried about than people taking ballroom dance lessons…

Let’s be frank here for a moment. For all of you who were once like me, spending so much time going to studios and taking group classes or private lessons, I imagine this shut down significantly changed not only the way we spend our time, but the way we think about spending our time. I don’t know about you, but my life was once a precarious balancing act, because I had to make sure that I would leave work at the right time so that I had time to go and work out, then rush to get cleaned up and eat something so I could make it to the studio in time to take classes or lessons or to practice. Any minor disruption in my schedule caused the whole thing to come crashing down. With the shutdown caused by this pandemic, I haven’t had to worry about that for a long, long time.

My question for you this week is: do you miss it? I mean really, when you stop for a moment and sit down to think about ballroom dancing, are you actually missing it?

I’m finding that, for the most part, as my time away from dancing continues to increase, the amount I miss dancing has been decreasing. At this point, I don’t actually miss competitions. I don’t really miss spending so much time practicing the same things over and over again to try and improve my technique by miniscule amounts every week. I have discovered that when I am not spending so much money on dance (or on other projects I picked up to fill in the void temporarily) that I actually make a lot more money than I thought every time I get paid. Also, weirdly enough, it’s been kind of nice not to be randomly stepping on rhinestones all over my house because they fell off something that was being worn for dancing, or the cat yanked them off of some rhinestone clothing that was laid out to be used. My feet certainly appreciate the break.

Yes, there are some parts of dance I think I still miss every once in a while, but those parts all seem to revolve around seeing people. Lately, with everything else I hear about that is going on in the world, I can’t say that I am super excited to be around people too often, so I don’t feel much impact from not having those normal social interactions that dance would give me quite as much as I imagine I would if the world was moving along normally. Like, say if I were just not dancing for a different reason, such as a lack of funds for example. So the emotional impact from not dancing is really at a minimum for me right now.

Sure, I feel bad in some ways about not feeling eager to jump right back into dance. There are a lot of dance instructors and dance studios that I’ve come to care about over the years that I’m sure are really hurting right now, and would love it if I would come back and start spending money again. That’s the thing I think I feel the worst about. As a dance instructor, who has built their life around a profession that requires close contact with other people, dealing with the current health crisis has got to be a huge source of worry. Unless they have additional marketable skills or second sources of income to keep them afloat, many of them have been out of work for so long that I imagine their bank accounts and credit cards are complaining quite a bit.

As a side thought, I bet filing for unemployment was next to impossible for most dance instructors because of the nature of their work as well. A lot of them that I know aren’t really “employees” of a specific studio. They just rent floorspace to use while they teach, making them self-employed. That’s really sad. But those feelings of sadness about their situations are not pulling at me enough to make me want to get back out there at this time.

Do you feel the same way? Are you finding that you aren’t missing dance very much right now, if at all? Or am I the only one who has realized this and is willing to admit it out loud?

I don’t know what the future has in store. Once again, I stopped paying attention to the news because everything I was hearing sounded terrible, but I still catch parts of what is going on in the world by listening to my coworkers in the office talk. Those snippets I hear do not inspire me to want to venture out into public a whole lot at this time. I don’t have much in the way of answers to the issues going on, so trying to join the conversation feels like I would be forcing myself into a situation I am wholly unqualified for. So for now I will keep on doing what I have been doing.If the situation changes, I will reevaluate that plan based on the new facts. Sure, it may seem boring to some, but it’s a choice that makes me happy.

I guess… I’m sorry dance, but we won’t be seeing much of each other for a while longer. Hope you’re doing OK without me.

3 thoughts on “Strangers, In A City Burning

  1. I suspect you aren’t alone. The forced time away just gives everyone an opportunity to see just how much time (and money) is devoted to ballroom and time to think about whether that still makes sense. I did miss it and I’m glad to be to starting up again. But that’s also because I’m not working anymore so things get a little boring without it.

    1. I do have to go in to the office for work right now, so maybe that does have something to do with it. The people I know who are at home and still working remotely do seem a bit more starved for contact than I do, which may be why some of them talk about getting back into dancing sooner even if it’s not completely safe. Hmm…

  2. I don’t miss dance such as I thought I would either. For me, it is the actual movement that I miss, not the people. I want to compete again but not for awhile. I’m looking forward to just working on my movement with my teacher, once his studio reopens. My perspective of ballroom and how I want to show up in this world has definitely shifted.

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