OK, that's sort of harsh. I really shouldn't call these dancers "klutzes." Especially since they're my wife and me, and I need as much self-esteem as I can manufacture for myself.
But every time we go out to practice at the RJ Dance Studio Tuesday "hit the floor" open dances, I realize both how much we've forgotten of what we've learned, and how distant we are from the Dancing with the Stars standard (aside from a few stars who are as klutzy as we are, notwithstanding their professional partner).
Here's the thing about ballroom dancing though: even when you think I can't be having fun, you are! I haven't figured out why dancing is so enjoyable. Probably never will. Joy is joy. What else to say about it?
Which isn't going to stop me from more saying, naturally.
Theory 1: Most of us spend our days (and nights) trying to project a positive image to the world. We worry about how we look, what we say, what we do. It's impossible to take dance lessons, or practice dancing, without making lots of mistakes – usually in full view of other people. So it's liberating to embrace a "what, me worry?" philosophy of life.
Theory 2: Men and women are different. (Award me a Nobel prize for Obviousness.) Modern American feminism and political correctness have blurred many of the differences. Ballroom dancing draws them out. Men lead and women follow. This feels natural on the dance floor. Elsewhere, not so much. But there's a place for the "Me Tarzan, You Jane" attitude, the man taking charge and the woman being swept along.
Theory 3: Primal evolutionary memories are stirred up when we move to music. No longer leaping to the beat of sticks against logs around a tribal bonfire, we still resonate with ancestral rhythms. This white guy doesn't exactly boogie, especially not to Latin music (I jive more to Tango, Waltz and Foxtrot). Still, once in a while I feel myself moving to the beat of a primordial drummer.
Often when I mention ballroom dancing to someone, they'll say "I/we have always wanted to take lessons. Just never have gotten around to it." Well, do it. I can almost guarantee you'll enjoy ballroom dancing more than you think you will.
A final Dancing With the Stars observation: keep in mind that these two minute routines are choreographed to the hilt. The stars and their partners rehearse the moves for many hours.
The skills they exhibit are real, for sure. But this isn't ballroom dancing, where the man is leading unpredictably and the woman has to follow moves that she can't anticipate. That's trickier than choreographed dancing in many ways.