Ava's (A)musings

Dancing out of your comfort zone

Ava’s (A)musings

Ava Stoller moved to Colorado in 2007, with her military family, and calls Falcon her hometown. She is a senior at CU Boulder; majoring in communication and leadership studies. Ava enjoys reading, music and binge watching TV shows and movies — of course, never in procrastination of school work! Ava is taking over for her dad, Mark, for the summer.

Dancing out of your comfort zone

By Ava Stoller

Hello friends! I’m on summer break from CU Boulder and stepping in for Mark for a few months while he prepares for his national licensing exams.

While at university, my best friend and I were looking for a new activity to try, and decided to go to a social club for country swing dancing. We went to a meeting at the beginning of the semester where we spent the first hour learning the moves and the second hour social dancing. By the end of the night, I was exhausted both physically and mentally — it was a LOT of socializing. My friend loved it; and, despite my initial hesitation, we ended up going every single week for the rest of the semester.

At the second class, my friend and I decided that one of us needed to learn the lead part so we could dance with each other. So we played the most fair game we could think of: rock, paper, scissors. I lost and learned the position of lead, which I prefer anyway (I don’t like being dipped).

Throughout the months of dance club, I struggled to be excited to go each week. Large groups and lots of interacting with people tends to be stressful and scary for me. With dancing, I not only have to talk with others, but I also have to touch them, too!

Everyone was respectful, polite and generally kind. However, the anxiety that I have overpowers any fun and triggers overthinking. I have also found that if you don’t look like the stereotypical college girl, cute and fit, you are not asked to dance and then you spend the hour against the wall like it’s your job to hold it up.

Halfway through the semester, a group of au pairs joined our club. An au pair is essentially an international nanny. Many of these women came from Germany and there was also one from South Africa.

I absolutely loved listening and talking with these ladies. What made this group even more intriguing is that they shared in my disdain for a particular guy — let’s call him X. On the outside, X was popular, but on the inside he was insufferable. He would walk in late and pretend to be important. While dancing, his moves were cocky and arrogant while not actually executing the move correctly. X had everyone wrapped around his finger, except me and the au pairs.

Some of the au pairs had danced with X. All had either been dropped or hurt from his lack of skill. He had the audacity to blame them for the move gone wrong.

In dancing, the understood rule is if there are errors in a dance movement, it is always the lead’s fault. Even if the “follow” missteps, it means the lead did not signal properly or prepare the move correctly.

On one occasion, X tried to talk up the South African au pair as she video taped a friend who was dancing. She had refused him multiple times and he repeatedly came back. He finally got the hint when she completely lost her temper and aggressively cursed him out in Afrikaans. It was a lesson he would not soon forget!

Throughout 16 weeks of apprehension and anxiety for dance club, I learned that stepping out of your comfort zone is daunting. Yet, it provided an opportunity to grow as a person. I have gained valuable experiences, new skills and found some great people that I never would have met had I not pushed myself to try something new.

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