It’s been four years since I’ve last done any ballroom dance. During this period, I underwent some serious growth that I would otherwise have missed if I didn’t make that fateful decision one day to just… stop.
It was an overwhelming sensation of doom that I made the decision one snowy winter day as I was crossing the street to the practice. I did something that I had never done before that day. I canceled without a reason. It wasn’t because I had a hangover, or I got out of bed too late because of a crazy night of sex. The foreboding feeling that if I continued down that same path, I would end up with all my relationships in tatters and my bank account deeply in the red.
There was this feeling of nirvana I’d get back in the old days after a hard dance workout when I get to sit down in my chair programming while listening to music. Four years later, here I am doing exactly the same thing, except with more knowledgeable. It almost seems that I am actually better than I used to be. True I have forgotten all the moves and routines luckily, my muscles retained the memories of how to do them.
During these four years, I’ve bulked up in mass while rigorously training my toes, the controlling muscles for stability in every part of my body, my abs, my wallet and most importantly: my ego.
Absolute abstinence from ballroom allows me to feel the difference that the muscle build up made. The power.. and the steadiness behind those power makes me feel like a tiger. I feel like I can soar to new heights each step with pent up energy waiting to be relived. At the same time, my ego kept me in check. Dancing is about moving together with the lady, it doesn’t make sense for me to use more power than what the woman can take. What used to make me slip or make my muscle shake are absolute pillars of stability now. I had no idea that I can hold my own weight and the weight of the lady with just one leg.
My wallet is way thicker too, which is an absolute must if you wish to pursue any type of hobby. A judge once said, dance talent is defined by 3 things: skill, beauty and money. The glamor that dancers need to convey is, for my part, no longer a pretense. The confidence, no longer a lie. These are results of the simple fact that I, as a person, will no longer worry about not having money. However, it is nothing to gloat about, just like being better in dancing is nothing to gloat about. There are plenty of people better than you, if not in this, than something else. You WILL eventually need to rely on them.
The ego, or the lack of it. The simple layman’s term, but if you follow psychology, you know that ego is just a categorization of some part of you. In the truer definition of the term, my ego has become even more egoistic. In the sense that it is more focused on the self instead of outside stimulus and approval. The ego motivated me to keep bulking up, even though I don’t think I’d return, it kept me from going over my head when money’s a plenty and most importantly, it kept me humble and allows me to see that the goal of dancing, is not about being better than others. So that when the unique things that only happens in this twisted world of dancing happens, I did not bloat up like I am the most important person in the world. Instead, I told myself: “Tread softly young padawan, for the force is fucked up here.” As I’ve come to realize after quitting, that being good and important in dance means jack in the real world. A penniless egoistical dancer is still just a penniless egoistical person in the bank’s eye, or anyone else’s you interact with.