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Dancers have more fun

Published July 23. 2011 09:02AM

Saturday morning was a delightful time this week.

I sat there reading last Saturday's TIMES NEWS laughing so hard I had tears running down my face. My raucous laughter brought my husband away from his total attention to the Tour de France.

"What's so funny?" he asked. "I have to see what's making you laugh like that."

I told him columnist Linda Koehler wrote about taking ballroom dancing. Linda has a way of putting humor into everything and this time was no exception.

I really had to laugh at the part where her husband was told by a buddy about her ballroom dancing plans before Linda had a chance to ask him.

Some men might rebel, but take my word for it, Harry is a Prince, just as Linda often claims. They've got an incredible relationship, which is good if they want to take dance lessons together.

On my very first date with Dave, I asked him if he was willing to take dance lessons with me. It was a big point in his favor when he responded so positively. When we got engaged, I joked to our dancing class that it was my way of guaranteeing a great dance partner for life.

We love the lessons, (most of the time) and we love our teachers, all the time.

Instructors Frank and Donna Alsip tell students learning dance patterns works the mind while the dancing exercise works your body. They also claim dancing keeps the romance in life for couples.

"You can't fight while you dance," they claim.

That part isn't true. Not all couples find constant bliss on the dance floor.

Frank and Donna's own relationship is illustrative of that. They laughingly tell people they were married for 20 years, divorced for 20 years, then remarried for life.

At one point after their divorce, Donna was the social director and dance instructor on a large, luxury cruise ship. Part of her perks was free cruises to intriguing places. When she had the chance to go to Egypt, she invited her ex-husband to go along. That's when they realized they were actually in perfect step, both on and off the dance floor.

But dancing doesn't always lead to romantic thoughts.

My friends Steve and Penny are a great couple that enjoys doing everything together - everything except dancing. Although they took dance lessons for a while, they stopped dancing.

"We fight if we try to dance," says Steve. "Penny won't let me lead."

"Why must the guy always lead?" quizzes Penny, who would rather have that role.

Our friends Tom and Wanda are great dancers but they sometimes have the same problem. "Turn right then turn me," says Wanda.

"Shut up and let me lead," counters Tom.

Who leads is often an area of contention, both on and off the dance floor.

Our male dance instructor is adamant about having the guy always lead. If, in class, he sees a woman trying to lead, even if it's only for three seconds, he's over there in a flash, telling the woman to let her partner lead.

"The dance floor is the only place a guy gets to be in charge so he might as well enjoy it," Frank jokes.

I enjoy being lead around the dance floor because that means David has to do all the thinking. I only have to follow him.

But sometimes we quibble about our roles.

"You didn't follow me on that sequence I just tried," he said.

"That's because you didn't give me a strong lead," I countered."

"Yes, I did," he insisted.

"No you didn't," I shot back, "or I would have been able to follow you."

Our instructors always back me on that. A guy's lead has to be strong, or, he can't expect his partner to know what to do.

We all laugh a lot in dance lessons. We have to laugh at our follies, or, we'd be unhappy with each other.

We just learned a complicated but beautiful waltz step. When David tried his version of the step, I told him our timing was off because he was missing a few steps.

"No I didn't," he said. "It's supposed to be done exactly like I did it."

"No it's not," I said.

"Yes it is," he countered."

Our instructors are like homing pigeons that always know when to step in to diagnose and correct the problem.

I hate to say this, but nine out of ten times David is right. It's the one out of ten that causes the problem when I won't give in because I know I'm right.

It happened the other night when we were out dancing on our own. David insisted a rumba step was done one way. I insisted it was not and tried to show him how we learned it. It took me three weeks to learn that step, and by darn, I finally knew it.

He kept doing it "his way."

So I just danced and said nothing.

Now, my husband is smart. Very smart. After a few minutes he said, "OK, let's try it your way."

I told you he was smart.

We'll have to wait for our next dance class for Frank and Donna to referee who is right about how to do the rumba step.

Meanwhile, we left the dance happy, with our arms wrapped around each other.

After all, as our dance teachers claim, dancing keeps the romance in a relationship.

I'll tell you one thing for certain: Dancing sure makes life a lot more fun.

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