Watching a Client’s Personal Growth is one of my favorite parts of being a Therapist. I especially enjoy reviewing with them the things that they have overcome and the progress they have made. In February of 2019, I went on cruise with my husband and family. The second to last night is a formal night. On this particular cruise there was a dance competition which takes place in the center of the cruise with three floors of people watching you. If you had known me five years ago, there wouldn’t have been enough money in the casino to have me enter that competition.
A little over 5 years ago my 3 biggest fears were: 1. Marriage 2. Dancing in public 3. Jellyfish. Since I already mentioned my husband, we can cross that one off the list and move on to dancing in public.
One of the things I promised myself before getting married is that I would overcome the fear of dancing in public so I would be able to dance at my wedding. Between 5 versions of WII Just Dance, Hip Hop Abs, and just about every dance workout or learn to dance video I could get my hands on I used and practiced so I would be able to dance with our friends and family. I can proudly say, I was able to dance at our wedding and was able to enjoy myself in the moment with my new husband, family, and friends.
This is a far, very far, leap from dancing in a competition in front of three floors of people. They were having trouble getting people to sign up. Reluctantly my husband and I both signed up when we found out they were not judging on “skill” but more creativity and ability to adjust and dance with a partner you have never met before. So bye-bye husband and hello new partner who is an Asian Man about 20 years my senior who does not speak English. And the plot thickens…
We had a minute to introduce ourselves and I could immediately tell that this man was kindhearted and up for a good time…we would just have to do our best to communicate non-verbally. We were told there were 7 rounds 1 elimination per round and different themes each round. The first style was 60’s I believe…and my partner was dancing proper steps and very sophisticated. The poor guy had no idea what he just signed up for. My dance style is basically wild, creative, and ridiculous.
After a little awkwardness in the beginning, somehow we met in the middle and did some old school square dancing shockingly well together and quickly became a crowd and judge favorite.
We then had to tango (which my partner was an expert at and even made me look good). To spice it up I decided we would tango and crash right into my husband and his partner to make it interesting. Tango Wars…Why not?
The themes that followed were real country, 80’s thriller, Bollywood, Dirty Dancing (acting/dancing), and Beyonce “all the single ladies”. All of which was my responsibility to lead and teach my partner. I can honestly say we had so much fun, I forgot about all the people and just was able to be in the moment and see how ridiculous we could dance together to these songs without really being able to talk to one another. Dancing became our language and we spoke it very creatively to the final round beating out my husband and the other dancers.
The final round was no joke and we were exhausted from the other rounds. Just when I thought it couldn’t get crazier we are told that this last one “WOULD NOT BE A DANCE!” RATHER WE WOULD BE ACTING OUT THE MOVIE SCENES FROM TITANIC. This is the time it would have been helpful if my partner spoke English because he did not get this memo and I am pretty sure didn’t see the movie.
So, how am I getting this man to stop trying to dance and act out a movie he has not actually watched? We didn’t care. We danced some anyway, I acted and had him follow my lead attempting to get off the ship, and we laughed the entire time knowing the other team was killing it. When it was over, we hugged and our families had a good laugh together, and we proudly took second place.
I haven’t had that much fun in as long as I can remember. I wouldn’t have had that much fun had I not overcome this fear of dancing in public. Lastly, it was amazing to have that experience with someone who was so opposite of myself, but so open minded and easy to work with. I couldn’t have asked for a better partner. Which is why the only part of this whole experience that left a bad taste in my mouth was when the “judge” said to me, “you are a froot loop. You had a tough partner or you would have hands down won it.” I looked at him and said, “I had the best partner out there. If anyone had it tough it was him…and I wouldn’t change a thing. I really wouldn’t.“
Without that personal growth, I wouldn’t have an amazing home with my husband who puts up with me and our fabulous furry family. I wouldn’t have the courage to dance like no one was watching while having the time of my life, and I would still be too scared to go in the ocean water due to jellyfish. I no longer am, but that is a different story for a different day.
It is almost as nice to go over the progress I have made over the years as it is to go over with my client’s the progress they have made. Since I always believe to lead by example, it is nice to see my own personal growth and share it with others. While it may not seem like dancing in public is a big thing, I was traumatized in fourth grade when I didn’t know how and never wanted to dance again. Now that I started, I never want to stop. Look what I missed out on all those years. Shortly after feeling comfortable dancing, I began to incorporate dance therapy and movement therapy into the music therapy I was already providing for my clients. I personally utilize dance therapy at least once per week and find it is one of my favorite therapeutic techniques that I utilize as I benefit from it every time I do it. None of these things would be possible if I didn’t make the choice to conquer this fear. As they say, it wasn’t always easy, but It was absolutely worth it!