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Articles of Interest » A Dancer's Story: David Taylor

A Dancer's Story: David Taylor

David Taylor

In the beginning …

No matter how long we've been dancing, each of us was a "beginner" at some point. Of course, every one of us ventures onto the floor occasionally unsure of our ability to lead, follow, keep the beat or remember the figures. That's true even for experienced dancers who try a new style. But there's something special about being a true beginner.

A true beginner may not know a waltz from a quickstep or a salsa from a cha cha, but he or she has made a bold decision to give it a whirl.

For me it was a birthday gift to my wife Connie some 15 years ago — a ballroom dance lesson before a Dayton Learning Center dance. The lesson was waltz. The figure was the box step.

And I was a disaster.

My left foot confused my right. Or was it the other way 'round? The music seemed blindingly fast — exceeded only by my pounding heart. Forward - side - together - back - side - together … don't forget to change weight! What? Who came up with this stuff?

My brain finally comprehended, but my nervous system seemed totally inadequate to transmit the necessary instructions to my legs and feet. Oh, and I'm called the 'leader' in this dance? Yeah. Right.

I was a beginner. It could have been the end also.

But it wasn't.

Fast forward 10 years and Connie and I are walking off the floor as bronze finalists at the USA Dance National Championships. And the waltz was one of our dances.

How does THAT happen?

It certainly wasn't part of the plan on that summer Saturday that I first took on the box step. But with a little perseverance and the unexpected — and greatly welcomed — help of the many, many good-hearted USA dancers, I got through those early stages.

And I see that now at every dance. The folks who've been dancing for a while reach out to new arrivals and help them learn a step or two. Or just reassure them that ours is a friendly, non-threatening environment and beginners are welcomed.

For me, while I love watching our veteran dancers glide across the floor, my heart warms every time I see a new couple taking that first unsure but endearing trip around the floor. Some don't continue after that first time. But some do. And for them, dance may become a rewarding, lifelong joy. It has for me.

Happy dancing!