by Mark Cross from Edmonton, AB
This tale begins four years ago, when I met Anita. Initially, we discussed our likes and dislikes together and we came to the conclusion that we were to take up Ballroom dancing. One of the fundamental problems that a potential Ballroom dancer must face is finding a willing partner, and this is why I had never tried dancing before.
The same was for true for Anita, so she signed up for classes on Thursday nights at a local college and the lessons we learned, as it turned out, were two-fold: the basics of Ballroom dancing and the basics of communicating with each other.
Our instructors, Lee and Blair, taught Anita and me the basics to several dances: the Cha Cha, the Rumba, Swing, the Foxtrot, the Waltz and Tango, while stressing to us the need to practice these steps on our own. So, we danced. Over many Saturday evenings we danced in Anita’s kitchen and worked out the steps together. By worked out I mean we practiced and fought over the steps, as we struggled our way towards getting them just right. There are few ways to get to know someone better than dancing. We discovered that Anita verbally counts out the steps to the dances and I intuitively feel my way through the beats. Many times I would wait, arms crossed and tapping my toe, while Anita counted out the steps. This contrast of learning styles led to many disagreements between us.
Some of the disagreements we could resolve verbally, but others could only be resolved physically, as we danced.
One memorable February evening, after dance class, Anita was driving me home and we were verbally working out the steps for the chase turns in the Cha Cha. We had reached an impasse in our working out process and could only settle things physically. What followed is perhaps, one of the strangest scenes in the annals of Ballroom dancing. Anita stopped the car and we stepped out onto the cold, icy street. As we met in the centre of the road, our eyes locked and we squared off against each other. I took her hand in mine and placed my right hand mid way down her back, as she placed her left hand atop my shoulder and we danced in the middle of the deserted street in our ski jackets. The street light was our spotlight and the road our dance floor. Oblivious to the cold, we worked out the steps together in our different ways; Anita counted out the steps in her methodical manner, while I was intuitively feeling my way towards perfection.
I would never have imagined myself dancing on the frozen, forbidding winter streets of Edmonton…but I had found my partner and we danced.