I was too pooped to drivel last night after dance class. We waltzed from one end of the room to the other in the group lesson, and then we kept on waltzing around the room all the way through our private lesson. And we were working on dance steps for a Viennese waltz. The difference between waltzing Matilda and a Viennese waltz is like the difference between writing a letter with a pencil in all-caps, and writing just about anything in shorthand with a pen. Except that, because we were galloping around the room, we got a lot sweatier than a stenographer would.

Do stenographers exist any more? In this country, I mean. I’m sure there are still plenty of them in places where the google hasn’t taken over. Just wondering.

A Viennese waltz is like flying and, if humans had wings, I think they would realize that it would take almost as much energy to do either. Takes a lot of coordination, too, something I possess in very limited quantities, so I don’t burn it up to do just anything, but waltzing is special. We started waltzing many moons ago, more than a year now, but we didn’t start learning the steps for a Viennese waltz until a couple months ago, maybe the middle of the winter, and even though we thought we were pretty hot shit with our regular waltz steps (we’re not, we just think we’re pretty good), when our instructor taught us the first few basic steps we were just about all the way back to Square One, losing the count, running into walls, stepping on each other’s toes, and collapsing from exhaustion after just ten minutes or so.

This went on for weeks, and it seemed as though, just as we were getting the hang of it, our instructor would add or change a step that would short-circuit our brains and throw the whole sequence off, forcing us to virtually start from scratch. On a good night, we could almost make one full circuit of the room without spraining any part of our bodies, or each other’s bodies. But last night, for the first time, we were able to waltz all the way around the room, not once, but twice! I know! And just to make sure it wasn’t a fluke, we even did it again. We felt well chuffed.

And that was while our instructor was trying as best as he knew how to derail us, throwing in a couple of optional steps we could try, or reminding us to keep our frame solid. If you want to derail us, just shout out helpful technical tips, that’s the last thing we can think about while dancing. It’s like trying to walk and chew gum.

Helpful technical tip: You can build a perfect dance frame by giving your partner a hug, then, without shifting your stance, stand up straight and take dance position. Perfect frame. Every time. Wish he’d shown us that months ago.

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