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We danced.

I called Krista up on the phone Wednesday evening. Our performance was the next night and I still didn’t feel like I had it down-pat.

“Can we pleeeaaaassse meet tomorrow and do one more quick practice?” I more or less begged her with my best I-Need-This-Or-I’m-Gonna-Die whine. I told her any time, any place.

I was nervous.

She found an itty bitty teeny weenie hole in her schedule and wiggled me into it. A huge act of kindness based on how busy she was that day.

We met at her studio, took our positions, turned on our music, and…

We danced.

And it was near perfection.

It was the best I’d ever danced it.

We cranked up the music again. Again no real flaws or missteps. Had I dreamt my way to learning it the night before?

After one more run-through hitting every step, I told her I thought we were good to go. She agreed, saying you don’t ever want to over-practice on the day of the performance.

A couple hours later I was carrying a tux, a bouquet of roses, a large gym bag, and a hundred other things, and I huffed it all into the front doors of the school we were to perform at. I asked the guy at the front desk (who I *think* was using a fake English accent) where I was to go. He gave me a blank stare and said, “Who are you?”

“I’m here for Dancing with the Stars. Can you point me to the auditorium?” He returned that with a disdainful crusty.

“There is nothing like that going on here. Maybe you’re looking for our other school.” I read him the address that was given me and which I had then turned around and given to all of my friends, family, and all of you. “That’s this address, but we don’t have any events like that scheduled tonight.”

He saw the panic burst through my eyes ready to laser slice him in half. I took a deep breath. “Okay, we need to figure this out because I have more than 70 RSVPs that I sent to this address and at six o’ clock tonight they’ll all be pounding this door down ready to put my head on a spear.

It may have been slightly dramatic.

He got on the phone and found out it was scheduled at their “other school” down the hill. Not having any idea how to get the word out quickly enough for anybody to get it, I supermanned my stuff back to my car, zipped to the other school, sprinted inside, and met Krista on stage. She’d also been through a similar routine to end up at the right place.

We both jibber-jabbered about our new predicament, gave the sound guys our music, and took our places on the stage. We had only minutes to do a run-through or two before it was somebody else’s turn. And…

We danced.

And it was near perfection.

And I was no longer nervous. And we did it again. And we nailed it.

The next hour was a blur of makeup, hairdressing, repeatedly nailing my head on the short ceiling under the stage, changing in tiny middle school bathroom stalls, and pawning of the de-thorning of my roses to some awesome kid who was just chillin’ below decks.

We were second on the schedule to dance.

Somewhere in the middle of all of it, I texted every person I personally knew who was coming and told them of the venue mishap. Then I left a quick note on the SDL Facebook page hoping anybody who was coming *might* see it. I didn’t have a lot of hope. The event coordinators promised us they’d hang something up telling people where to go. At that point I could only let it go and hope it worked out.

Before long, the people in charge told us it was starting, and I went to wait on deck. The first performance ended, I put a rose in my mouth, and I took my place at stage left.

My partner set her chair on the floor, took her position, and…

We danced.

Continued on next page (including a video of the dance!)

77 comments
Marygrace Coneff
Marygrace Coneff

Reminded me of my first performance! Dancing is awesome! So good for the soul!

Krista Eger
Krista Eger

She has such a unique name. ...no seriously, it's uncommon!

JaquelenneDanielle
JaquelenneDanielle

I ballroom danced for 4 years in high school, and i know exactly how you feel. When I'm dancing, nothing matters. I lose myself dancing. Same as I do acting and singing, I just lose myself.

Katrina Croy
Katrina Croy

Good for you! I had loved being a ballroom/swing dancer in high school and then for a few years even after I moved out on my own but sadly I haven't done it much since I got married. I'm craving it all the time and when I watch others dance I just long for it more.

sunderi
sunderi

I had basically the same experience with ballroom dancing.  My husband and I started dancing to get ready for our wedding, and, long story short, a few years later we had both gotten so involved that we left lucrative tech jobs to become instructors.  :)

Sparrowchild
Sparrowchild

My heart, soul and body always wanted to do horseback riding. I finally dived into it 2 1/2 years ago. I have made a lot of sacrifices in order to afford it, but the hobby (and my horse!) are totally worth it! :) What a great video! I'm glad you were focused on the positive after and had a good time! Are you still doing dancing now?

Melanie Kirk
Melanie Kirk

Awesome, Dan. I teach tap dancing to adults and have known since I was a kid that it isn't whether you are a flawless professional or a hack with two left feet or somewhere in between. It's the losing yourself and finding yourself at the same time in the music. So glad you did. Bless you!

Sue Jackson
Sue Jackson

you are so silly! That was super awesome....and cute! And yes, the look on your face when you missed the skirt was my favorite part as well!

RLA
RLA

I felt that way when I learned the swimming strokes. I'm a born and raised Florida girl so I knew how to swim but not the actual competitive strokes until last summer. When I get in that water, pretty much everything melts away and I just feel so much happier, my day gets infinitely better. I haven't been able to swim in a few months because I've been so outrageously busy but right now I feel like I'm dying on dry land, wishing I was in the water. I'd live underwater if I could find a way to breathe :)

ColdSoup
ColdSoup

lol Oh dear. Looks like it was a lot of fun, though.My body told me to bellydance more. And when I had the time, everything else felt like it fell into place when I opened myself up and just let myself do it--my weight, my depression, everything. LIFE was just better. I understand what you mean.

Heather McVoy
Heather McVoy

Great blog and a fun video--especially after reading the story!

Wilma S Cohen
Wilma S Cohen

Excellent ! Bradley Cooper & Jennifer Lawrence have nothing on you two !

jesslc
jesslc

"...I realized something that I’ve never really realized. My body was meant to dance.

My body has been craving dance. Real dance.

And so has my soul.

And they both sang out in unison their appreciation and their approval of what I had done to get to that point. And they both hugged me with satisfaction. And they both screamed… give us more."

 

This.

When I discovered Salsa in my early 20s, I couldn't believe I had wasted so much of my life not dancing. It took me about a year to stop feeling like I had two left feet, and yet I still loved it that whole time, and even more once I didn't have to concentrate on it. When I switched to Ballroom some years later, I felt like I had found my calling. Salsa (even though I still really liked it at that point) just couldn't compete. I've had periods in my life since where I haven't danced for a while for various reasons, but every time I go back after a break I realise how much I've missed that feeling that only dancing can give.

Nate
Nate

The look on your face when the dance went wrong, my favorite part of the video. It was just a look to be applauded. It was almost the same look that I had when I messed up my first performance, but I was on a much simpler dance, the waltz.

CarolN
CarolN

Lol...that's hardly dancing. Krista was dancing. You were slowly walking around her. I bet you didn't even break a sweat. Kudos for the effort and raising money to kick cancer ass though.

shimaijonzu
shimaijonzu

Seriously made me cry. Soooooo excited for you to find soemthing you love and the courage to just do it! Congratulations!!

SharonMylerSevy
SharonMylerSevy

DANCE and enjoy every minute. We were going dancing the night my husband was paralyzed. Five years, and I miss it so much! We had people stopping to watch us dance. Yes, I miss it. *sigh*

marika200
marika200

She looks so beautiful in that gown! It sounds like you both danced beautifully! Good for you!

JJWM1025
JJWM1025

Dan, that was fabulous! And yes, my body screams at me everyday and I have not stopped to listen. One of these days I will get to make the time to listen to my body over the daily cries of my kids and their stuff.

SianCounts
SianCounts

Dan, that was fantastic. You might have missed the skirt but you did not once miss the REALLY important things like, your hand was ALWAYS where it was supposed to be and you never left your partner grasping in thin air...stuff like that. I started dancing (ballet) when I was 4 years old and I've been dancing ever since. Yes, I do know that feeling when mind and body work as one and it all comes together.

Now, at the age of 61, with osteoarthritis in both knees I don't do as much dancing as I used to but I still dance...and you will, too, know that you know the magic of it. Hugs!

MichelleCampbellPerrine
MichelleCampbellPerrine

The wardrobe malfunction made it that much more sultry. Think about it - the beautiful woman ripped off her skirt for YOU! ;)

JennCRhodes
JennCRhodes

That was still awesome despite the fact that you didn't pull her skirt off. You made it look natural! Good job!

Kate Knott
Kate Knott

I think this is my favorite post so far. You fussed and worried over this night for weeks..You took it seriously and you trained...and the moment of pure joy on your face is clear for all to see and share...What an incredibly thing for you and for the charity!!!! Brava to you, Dan!!! Go forward and dance for yourself!!! ;-)

Angela Ra
Angela Ra

Dance is magic. So glad you found your way back to it.

Pam Pilch-Bisson
Pam Pilch-Bisson

I love this post! I feel the same way about dancing (though I've yet to try ballroom) and it is like magic to listen to the call, especially when you can just let everything else go.

Janet Coppens
Janet Coppens

I loved it - enjoying dancing is pure joy - and, your video clip is joyful to watch...fabulous dancing!!

Stephanie Johnson-Hart
Stephanie Johnson-Hart

When I watched it live I didn't even notice you "messed up." And, I love, love the last line of that blog post.

Stacy Garrett
Stacy Garrett

That's kind of how I felt the first time I did ballroom. If I could afford classes, I'd be taking it every week.

Maddie Bromwich
Maddie Bromwich

I watched the video, didn't even notice any 'mistake', you guys were amazing. :)

Amethyst Underwood
Amethyst Underwood

It was hard to take it seriously with the audience cat calling the two of you the whole time.. while watching the video I kind of had this cheesy grin on my face because of it... I used to be a dancer (Car accident.)... and my high school Choir teacher was insanely strict on the matter... So audience etiquette is very important to me. It is a form of respect and over the years, I have had to learn to balance my enthusiasm and excitement with that respect and dignity. Suffice to say... the cheering made me giggle... I think it is fabulous that you had so much (loud) support and I can see the very moment your epiphany came to fruition. I am actually kind of jealous... I still have (very vivid) dreams of my past performances... spinning around like I could defy the laws of physics. It is actually hard to watch sometimes because I get a little choked up over it...but it always gets to me (in a good way..) when I see people dancing and they love every moment. So yeah.. I'm Jelly... but you looked great and it sounds like you had a blast. Kudos for trying something new!

meason98
meason98

awesome!!!!!!!!! Love it!

KeelyShiraki
KeelyShiraki

Yes. Yes. Yes. Dancing... it changes something in you. All of the sudden you find that part of your 5 year old self that tells you that you were born to fly. You listen to the innocent, hope filled part of you that adulthood has so ruthlessly squashed, and you BELIEVE it again.

mareserinitatis1
mareserinitatis1

Welcome to the club! I have always been called clumsy, uncoordinated, etc. I can't even wear heel without falling. Then, as a joke, I decided to try bellydancing. My world changed completely. Here was this awkward, clumsy woman who finally found a way to move gracefully and beautifully, and it completely changed how I felt about myself. I even got into performing. Once you find something that feels right, stick with it. You'll be glad you did, and it helps you to redefine yourself.

MT Mama
MT Mama

That was great, Dan, thanks for sharing!!

zedseverywhere
zedseverywhere

Real men know how to dance. An excellent job Dan!

Shelley T.
Shelley T.

I loved it!!!! You were great and you did look like you were having a wonderful time!

yliharma
yliharma

congrats! you really enjoyed it, didn't you? it's always happening to me when I practice Kung Fu: I'm meant for that, I know it. And yes, of course I listen to it: I HAVE TO :D

HeatherSmull
HeatherSmull

Amazing! Looks like you had a really fun time, and that's what matters the most. :)

drKel
drKel

Dan, your smile was priceless. You beam with such delight, like a kid in a candy store. Great dancing.

SelinaRichelleRupers
SelinaRichelleRupers

Was that Noah yelling "daddy" at the beginning of the video? Too cute! You did a great job Dan!

ktreu
ktreu

You kidding me? He danced ever Tango and Cha-Cha step I taught him!