On our last date night we found an intro offer for a $20 (per couple) 30 minute private dance lesson in Manhattan! It was at Stepping Out Dance Studio's and it was even available at 7:30 PM on a Saturday night. I was thankful that the stars had aligned to match our crazy schedules, budget and babysitter:)
We arrived in the city a bit early for our lesson so we stopped a block away at a cute little coffee place called 'Koffecake Corner.' I had the most delicious sea salt caramel hot chocolate and my husband had regular hot chocolate and we split a delicious cookie. Altogether it was $16 so it was reasonable but not fancy if you stop there for a casual coffee date. They have some interesting things to share like chocolate fondue to go, sticky toffee pudding and strawberries in cream. I will post their link below.
Anyway, our teacher at Stepping Out Studios was Zoe Xandra, for Argentinean tango. My husband and I both thought she was great. She immediately got us both dancing and connecting and we had a great time. Later today (when I sat down to write a quick blog) I realized that the lessons of her dance can apply to relationships in general. So here they are:
1-KNOW WHEN TO LEAD AND WHEN TO FOLLOW-
Zoe set my husband up to lead and so it seemed I had the easier part. He had to do the more intricate step patterns but at times I had my own. If I remembered what we were supposed to do I had to keep my mouth shut and allow him to look perplexed and to figure it out. I had to be patient and trusting. This was kind of fun because in life I might have jumped in sooner. So, good practice for taking turns at leading.
2-MAKE EYE CONTACT AND BE PRESENT-Zoe told us to look deep into each other's eyes and even though we did not talk, it was amazing how we were trusting each other to do the new steps and follow each other without colliding. It reminded me how much energy can be focused on that present moment and that is powerful in terms of your connection.
3-LISTEN CAREFULLY TO YOUR MATE'S SIGNALS-Zoe told us that in tango both people stood very tall like a taut wire so that the woman could feel the smallest lean or motion from the man about what direction or step would be next. This was important because Argentinean tango is creative so there were no set patterns and my husband could change it all up mid stream. So, I would only know by the slightest lean which direction to step next etcetera. I guess an analogy in relationships is we always assume we know what our partner will do after awhile. I've known my husband 9 years (we are coming up on out 7th anniversary) so sometimes you stop surprising your mate as much or he/she stops allowing room to be surprised. This was a reminder to remain in that liminal space of anticipation and the unknown, even in a long term relationship where you have been through a lot and know each other well.
4-RELAX, HAVE FUN & DON'T LET YOUR HEAD TRIP YOU UP- When my husband would think too much he would forget the new steps. Our instructor Zoe would tell him to stay in his body, relax and have fun. The same is true for dating and relating. Just be present and trust yourself and your partner!
5-BE WILLING TO BE CREATIVE- Zoe said that no two couples or dancers were the same. Although she taught us some common patterns and steps, Ian could mix them up in any way he chose. Relationships are fun when we co-create them to fit us as a couple and as individuals. So, no two relationships will look alike...and that's great! There is no 'right' way to do things, as long as the two of you are happy and it fits both of your personalities.
6-IT'S ALL ABOUT INTIMACY- Zoe said the main purpose of the dance was intimacy and communication with your partner, even though it was nonverbal. To me intimacy is about an emotional connection and a continual discovery process of each other but this lesson reminded me that it could be nonverbal too.
7-BE CONSISTENT: PRACTICE! Obviously like with any new skill, you will improve with time. It would be great to be able to dance this dance with my husband at our daughter and son's wedding or to practice in our house as a fun free date anytime! So if you find something you love to do together, keep it up. It will bond you.
The offer is still good for you to get your intro $20 dance lesson (and I'm posting the link below) but unfortunately Zoe is $96 per private lesson after that intro session, so right now we won't be taking weekly classes. Maybe one day, because she is great!:)
If you are in the city, Stepping Out Studios has group classes too at set times for less. See the link below.
I also went on craigslist and found a guy named Henry who teaches dance to couples for $50 an hour and comes to your house if you are in Manhattan ($25 each, isn't bad). So, there are many options to dance together if you look. You can also check out Groupon and Livingsocial packages.
Relevant Contact Info:
-Stepping Out Studios
37 West 26th Street, 9th Floor, NY, NY
26th St, 6th Ave
New York, NY 10010