By The Girl with the Tree Tattoo
How do I love thee, ballroom? Let me count the ways.
I love the way you set my soul free while still providing a foundation of steps and techniques to keep me grounded. You provide the map for me to safely explore the connection between music and movement until I feel ready to stray beyond the defined borders.
In a world in which we’re becoming more and more physically isolated from each other, I love how you provide a safe place for us to experience simple physical contact with another human being. Without agenda or ulterior motive, we can hold a stranger’s hand or exchange a hug. For the length of a song, we can hold another person in our arms and share an experience — sans technology.
I love how you continue to challenge my perception of how strong I am, mentally and physically. Just when I think I’ve reached my limit, you show me a new reason to keep moving forward.
I also love that you didn’t tempt me to move beyond my perceived limits alone. You gave me a dance partner, a teacher, to guide me and help me find the courage to keep dancing.
You also gave me a new family, a community of fellow dancers whose support and encouragement is unwavering, and for that, I love you.
I love that you’ve taught me to walk tall, on and off the dance floor. As I learned to correct my posture, I found it easier to hold my head high in situations that would normally leave me cowering. You gave me confidence.
As you awoke a passion in me, I love that you didn’t restrict it to you, alone. As my passion for ballroom dancing bloomed, other passions, some long forgotten, were revived. The status quo is no longer enough for me. I don’t want to just survive this life — I want to live!
I love how you heal everyone you touch. Whether it’s the body, the mind, or the spirit, you take broken people and turn them into beautiful dancers. Their pain is forgotten as they experience your poetry.
I love that you welcome everyone. A person’s age, height, weight, color, et al — none of it makes a difference; everyone is welcome on the dance floor.
Most of all, ballroom, I love how you have loved me. You've asked me to make sacrifices, but in return, you gave me something priceless — a sense of identity. You showed me who I was underneath the layers of fear and self-doubt I wore to protect myself. You continue to show me who I can be if I just shed one more layer, and then another one.
Until the song finally ends, I am forever yours.
A Ballroom Dancer