What I Learned This Weekend

Yesterday, I spent all day either ballroom dancing or with APO.

So, what to do today?

Apparently, because either a) I have no life, b) I have too much of a life, c) I’m a glutton for punishment, or d) I want to avoid doing schoolwork, I got in bed at 1:30, got up at 11, showered, threw some food in my mouth, went to Memorial Union for dance practice from 1 PM-4 PM, came home, went back out again to APO meeting from 8 PM-9 PM.

Basically, the same day I had yesterday.

And I wouldn’t change it for anything. Well, I would add a few more meals that are not cereal, protein bars, chocolate, or pretzels.

But I’m a learner, and I reflect on nearly everything I do, so here are a few things I learned this weekend that could apply to your daily life.

1. Hold your partner closer and take smaller steps; your turns will be sharper and your connection will be greater.

Make sure you appreciate your friends, and hugs are always good gifts. It’s the little gestures that make things count in life, and could earn you points down the road.

2. Look at your partner.

Just take a look around you; you will see how lucky you are.

3. When things don’t go as planned, make a workshop into an intimate discussion.

Hey, maybe you’ll make an impact, and even get to play a game or two. Your self-confidence will build.

4. Listening is the best way to get people to open up.

You would be amazed at how much you learn about people (yourself included) when you make a practice of listening rather than just existing.

5. Don’t wander too far from the floor when you get called back for cha cha.

Yeah, not a huge life lesson here, just pay attention and don’t be stupid.

6. A selfie can build bridges.

In the amount of time it takes to take a selfie, you can make a new friend.

7. When you do your best, others might actually learn from you.

This happened a number of times. At the competition, one of the other (higher-level) dancers came up to me afterwards and said he learned something from me from watching my jive, that I leaned in towards my partner slightly for the American spin so that it looked like I was offering her my hand. At my theatre workshop at regionals, one of the three attendees told me he actually got some ideas to bring back to his chapter, and during Roll Call at that evening’s banquet, he led his chapter in what turned out to be a really funny improv piece. As he walked back to his table, I said good job, and he said “hey, I owe it all to you,” and then we basted invisible turkeys and laughed while everyone around us was puzzled. Private joke! You should have come to my workshop.

8. Dancing in front of an audience won’t kill you, but doing spot turns just might.

If someone ever tells you that they can travel across a room doing 10 nonstop spot turns, that person is probably a liar.