Dancing at the ballroom | RecordCourier.com

Dancing at the ballroom

by Ron Walker

I recently read the book entitled, “If you want to walk on water, you have to get out of the boat.” The author tells, how a fisherman named Peter, is in a sailboat, with 11 friends. It’s 3 a.m., and a fierce storm is raging. Their boat is about to sink. Peter sees Jesus walking toward them. Peter calls out, “Command me, Lord, to come to you,” or words to that effect. Seconds later, Peter is out of the boat, and walking on water toward Jesus. It’s scary at first, but in the end, it all works out.

The other 11 guys in the boat hang back, and do nothing. I’ve lost count of how many people have walked on the moon, but to the best of my knowledge, only Jesus and Peter are part of the “walking on water” group.

“Hi, I’m Terri Davis. Tedra, (her hair dresser) tells me you teach ballroom dancing? Is that right?”

“Hi, Terri, yes, I’ve taught ballroom dancing classes in the past,” I reply.

Excitedly, she says “Gary, Debbi, Greg, and I would like to take some lessons.”

Suddenly, I feel like one of the 11 guys in Peter’s boat. Do I really want to give dance classes, or do I want to sit home and watch television? After much squirming, I get out of the boat. The Smith Valley make-believe ballroom lives again.

A mob shows up. I’m thrilled to see, J.P. and Marilyn, our Fred and Ginger. Jeff and his friend Erica show up. Mike and Kay decide to bring their daughter, Pandora, and son Sebastian. Good neighbor Doug, and lovely wife, Gretchen attend as well.

Some people have a tendency to be tentative at their first dance class. Not my neighbor, Doug. Doug is a retired Marine Corps sergeant major. They are as tough as mule meat. At one time, Doug was a drill sergeant. Every day must have been a day of reckoning for those young recruits. Nothing frightens Doug, not even ballroom dancing.

At first, we’re standing in a circle, and the atmosphere is a little chilly.

I put on a cool Earl Grant CD. Nobody has the slightest interest in what anyone else is doing. They’re much too busy keeping an eye on what they’re doing. I put on “Marsy Doats,” a novelty song from the ’40s. You can’t help from smiling when you hear the lyrics. I get cagey and slip in a side-together-side-touch, step. I notice in the mirror, that everyone is in perfect synch.

“Look at that. We’re all doing our first foxtrot dance step,” I say, and everyone claps.

I demonstrate the box step and we practice, until everyone feels comfortable with it. From time to time, I ask everyone to dance with someone they haven’t danced with before. To develop leading and following skills, Orllyene dances with the gentlemen, and I dance with the ladies. It’s all about having a good time.

By the end of the evening, everyone is doing the side step, the box step, and the turning box. For the last dance, I flick the light switch off. The room plunges into darkness, except for the mini-Christmas lights that Miss Betsy leaves up for this time of year.

After the last dance, I ask “Do you want to have class next week,” and everyone says “yes.”

The next day, Erica writes on Facebook, “Dancing class was a blast last night.”

Sometimes getting out of the boat, and doing something new is downright scary. The trick is to be like Peter. Ask for help. Then take that first step, and if you stumble, don’t worry. You’re not going to drown.

Ron Walker lives in Smith Valley. He can be reached at walkover@smithnv.com.