“… being on the Blue Ballroom dance floor, under the sparkling chandeliers and surrounded by all the beauty that Ken and Roseanna have created for our enjoyment … I was finally MOVING again.  The freedom the space provides to fully express our dancing is magical.”

Do you miss dancing and the Blue Ballroom?  Are you hesitant to come back to the ballroom because of the pandemic?  I know exactly how you feel.  I started taking lessons at BBR about 2 ½ years ago and it uplifted my life in ways I never imagined.  When the pandemic hit, I didn’t know what I was going to do without my dancing.  When the option to take lessons via Zoom arose, I jumped on it and I am so glad I did.  I advanced my dancing in so many ways during that time.  Then, when the option to return to the ballroom was offered, I was nervous about going in person for my lessons.  I waited a couple weeks before giving it a try.  And then I decided to go once to check it out and if I wasn’t completely comfortable, I would leave and continue on Zoom. 

I remember driving to that first lesson post lock down.  I was a little scared and anxious.  When I walked through the front door, I felt the welcoming magic of the ballroom right away.  Walking up the stairs I was still anxious and hesitant.  At the top of the stairs, all of my concerns started to melt away.  After going through a questionnaire and having my temperature taken, I moved towards the dance floor for my lesson.  I observed all the hand sanitizer placed throughout the space, the masks on the bar, no water, no peanuts, fewer tables, the posted rules like only one person in the ladies room at a time, no people other than me and Johny on the dance floor, Ken in the background, all of us wearing masks, sterilized sticks and pool noodles in a container marked clean with another one for placing those that need to be cleaned before the next use and all the time social distancing.  I also noticed the sparkle in Johny’s and Ken’s eyes when they greeted me, their earnest commitment to making it safe and comfortable for me, their genuine efforts to make sure that I have a good experience.   As my concerns related to my safety disappeared, I still had questions. How would this work?  Dancing with sticks and pool noodles?  Not in hold?  What good could come of this??   

As soon as my lesson started, I got my answers.  Johny has created a way to make it all work.  And being on the Blue Ballroom dance floor, under the sparkling chandeliers and surrounded by all the beauty that Ken and Roseanna have created for our enjoyment … I was finally MOVING again.  The freedom the space provides to fully express our dancing is magical.  Suddenly all the technical lessons and instructions came to life with the music and movement.  And my fears and worries of the last few months were left on the dance floor.  At least for that hour. 

Over the following weeks using the revised format, I learned to rely more on myself rather than leaving it all to Johny, counting on him to lead me around the dance floor and hoping I would figure it out.  Now, my posture and head positioning are better, my balance is improved and I have more knowledge and understanding of the dance steps and what is mine to do.  I am a better dancer.  And I can hold my own. 

Going to the ballroom for my lessons has now become my number one coping mechanism for dealing with all the uncertainties and anxieties we are all facing.  My health is not at risk.  In fact, it is improved.  Tending to my overall well-being, I feel more courage and confidence that we will all get through this.  As an oncology social worker, I know the evidence confirms that our emotional and mental wellbeing contributes to positive outcomes in our physical wellbeing.  And now I have experienced it firsthand.

So, for any of you who are hesitant to return to the ballroom because of COVID-19 concerns, or are thinking you won’t get anything out of a lesson if you can’t be in hold, please reconsider.  The entire ballroom staff is turning themselves inside out to make it safe.  Continuing to do what you love is GOOD for your health…AND IT’S FUN! 

Wishing you all safe passage through the months of ahead and I hope to catch a glimpse of you in passing at the ballroom sometime soon. 

Janet Teixeira

August 20, 2020