On Grace and Elegance

Embed from Getty Images

Ballroom dance has taught me many things. It’s not easy, it can be graceful, but leads must be subtle.  We’ve also met many wonderful people, thus have our dance friends.

Ballroom dance is a niche, thus there is a ballroom community. Although we know only a small portion, we recognize many faces because we attend the same functions. Dancers are at all levels, yet we note differences. Many know numerous steps, but the don’t look good doing them because they’ve primarily (or only) learned from group classes – but they enjoy themselves, which is important. Others look better, but don’t know as many steps – those are the ones who take private lessons.

Their timid and stiff nature identifies the beginners, but hey – all of us were there once. A handful have danced for more than 20 years, and let’s just say that some of them are very good .. the few that stand out. Even on a large floor with two hundred people, those that are trained, experienced, and/or competed at a high level are easy to identify – after all, they probably practiced, too! Reality is that most of us are between those two extremes.

It didn’t take long for us to identify Madam M. As she danced down and around the floor with her competitive partner, her movements defined elegance and grace as her smile beamed joy. Madam M is a relatively tall, attractive woman, and her firmly anchored partner knew how to display her. While watching them dance, I would think – Someday – maybe someday – I will join her for a smooth dance – a foxtrot or a waltz. Keep in mind, this is 4-5 years ago, which was early in our dance experience.

Over time, we’ve had several encounters with Madam M, and most importantly, she’s very pleasant. Maybe a year or so ago we were talking and she suggested we dance. Although it was a west coast swing – not my best dance – of course I accepted, … but that didn’t count as that dream dance. Later, there would be times when I would step toward her direction, but only to be intercepted by another invitation.

Image from Microsoft Office

Image from Microsoft Office

At a recent small ballroom gathering, there was Madam M sitting alone at a table. The DJ played a Foxtrot, so I asked her to dance. We went to the floor where I offered my left hand as a starting position, she took her place then arched back into my right hand after I lightly placed it on her back. I straightened my frame, and in no time, long strides were gracefully gliding us around the floor (at least to me).

I kept the patterns simple because my Foxtrot timing has gone in the toilet the past few months. The dance was wonderful, and afterwards, I told her how I just accomplished one of my goals. Her laugh and words conveyed both, That’s silly and Thank you … but my soul was beaming.

A short time later, it was a waltz, thus I couldn’t resist. Again, we glided and I followed various shaping that she led with subtle precision. We were both casually dressed and in a less-than elegant venue, but it was easy for me to envision my tux with tails and her flowing gown in a grand ballroom. At the end she told me that I dance well, which I found reassuring as I checked the box on my personal bucket list … even better, I checked it twice.


66 thoughts on “On Grace and Elegance

  1. You knew I would have to stop by with that post title to entice me in Frank! I’m organising and packing and trying to get a post published and everything else done before I hop on the plane in 36 hours. I always love to watch Brendan dance – I think he is a beautiful mover. He used to be a kiwi and was a judge when we had DWTS here. Sadly I don’t get to see Strictly any more.

    Your story is delightful – Foxtrot is one of my favourite dances too – it must have been a wonderful moment to take your position with Madame and then to receive her praise. Good times!!


    • Pauline,
      Glad I unknowingly picked one of your SCD favorites. I purposely searched SCD videos over DWTS because the latter seems to have more glitz, thus I thought these fit better with what I wanted.

      And yes … those two dances were special personal moments for me. A tidbit of the rest of the story is that at a recent event, I got Madam M’s partner to ask my wife to waltz. She was surprised … and accepted.

      Meanwhile, the rush of packing for long-distance travel … enjoy!!!


  2. Two on your bucket list, wow! So happy you got to dance with Madam M. I could just see it all. Very cool. I always thought ballroom dance would be fun to try and it’s so glamorous.


    • Amy,
      Ballroom is fun to try, but it’s harder than people think. Then again, there are other factors. Nonetheless, although it wasn’t a glamorous moment, those were special dances.


  3. I love movies about people taking ballroom dancing lessons. My wife and I loved taking ballroom dance lessons. I love movies with famous dancers dancing. I love to watch children and pre-teens dancing. I love dance contests on TV and in movies. I love tap dancing and historic dancing. I love indigenous dancing. I love ballet and Broadway Show dancing. I LOVED watching James Brown dance! I love reading afrankangle blog posts about dancing.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I just love looking at them dance. I am sit for hours and just look at it like it’s a dream. Do you know how long I’ve been on your blog just looking at the videos twice Frank? lol. You just made my day my friend.


  5. I don’t dance either but I too think it is so very romantic. Quite like your story 🙂 Good for you Frank!.When do we get to see videos of you dancing? 🙂


  6. Oh my Frank what a special tale this was – I’m thrilled that you checked “twice” your bucket list item. Madam M is one special lady – how lucky for her to enjoy those two dances with you!


  7. Cheers for you accomplishing such a goal. The videos are so elegant and wonderful. Life might be better if all spent some time on dance floors like these – measured, graceful , having take not of others as well as your own movements, – and there’s levels like in society for those who simply must excel and compete – yet “just for fun” is just as worthy and give just as many smiles and happiness. Cool post.


    • Mouse,
      Thanks for the kind words …and yes, “Just for fun” means a lot in this activity – and I can honestly say that we look forward to our nights of dancing that allows us to see our dance friends.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Congratulations on achieving 2 items on your bucket list Mr Frank. I always set my bucket list items incredibly high. “Fly to Mars”, “Eat ice cream made by virgins from the rock hard abs of an Italian body builder on the top of the Eiffel tower”…those kind of bucket list items as the more you tick of, the closer you get to kicking said bucket…my way of stalling the inevitable ;).


  9. How very sweet. Now, to go watch the videos. Thank you for introducing me to this fine art, Frank. I’m completely mesmerized, and spend a fair amount of happy time watching the energy and silent emotions between the dancers. There is definitely, most often, beautiful chemistry between the dancers. I’ve been keenly aware of such chemistry in paired figure skating, as well. Between horse and rider, especially dressage, music duos, etc…. and partners, in general, on most things.


    • Victoria,
      Keep in mind that this is the UK version of Dancing with the Stars – thus one professional dancer and one amateur. Waltz and Foxtrot have similarities and differences, now I’ll have to return to the videos to see which vid I like the best.


  10. Bredan, (naught boy) my favorite dancer in UK’s version of Dancing with the Stars. One of my favorite dances, beautiful dance. I wish there was more opportunity for my to practice those days. There is no ballroom dancing in Landskrona. I’m so envy when I read about your dancing nearly every weekend.
    Thanks for the beautiful and elegance .. in this post.


  11. You and Madam M., how wonderful you got to dance together! I like watching the gracefulness of the pro dancers on ‘Dancing with the Stars’ sometimes, although I don’t watch it every week. I’ll think of you next time I do watch an episode though! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Ahhh … the elegance of dance. The main reason my hubby and I dance ballroom is for the elegance of the dress. He puts on the tuxdeo – no tails – and he is a knight in shining armor. My gown takes me to the fairytale princess ball. A night of romantic elegance and formal delight. 😎


  13. Ah Frank, how wonderful to check off items on your bucket list with the added bonus of being complimented on your grace at the same time. I am such a fan of dance, any dance so envy you that you have pursued this with your wife! What a lovely way to spend time.

    Loved the videos.


  14. Awesome!

    I so wish there was a place nearby that offered lessons for this type of dancing (during a day/time) that hubby & I could go to. Maybe when the kids are all grown up & we have more free time. 😉


  15. Pingback: Guest Post from aFrankAngle: On a Trip to the Ballroom | Happiness Between Tails

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