You never think it will be you, but then there you are – obsessed with everything about it, unable to sleep well without it, unable to think of much else. Everywhere you look, your house, your car, and (Ohhhh) your closet, you see a clear evidence of ballroom addiction. There is the strong physical addiction to the endorphin “high” from the athletic part of dancing. Runners get that too. But then there is the psychological addiction to the awesome experiences you have as a result of dancing. In that, ballroom has no match. Add the hypnotic attraction of glamour, and the combination is overpowering. Sometimes every symptom comes on quickly, but most often it happens in stages:
Stage 1 – Not sure what it is, but I’ll give it a try…
- Dancing generally starts out the same for everyone:
– You’ve decided to learn a few steps so you don’t look like Napoleon Dynamite in dance clubs.
– Your crush likes to dance, so you think that if you know how to dance too, You’re In!;
– You found a GroupOn deal online for lessons at studio near your house.
It is almost impossible to predict what happens next, but the understanding that this is different from everything else you have done starts right after your first lesson.
- One sign of emerging ballroom dance addiction is when everyone you meet, all of a sudden, find out that you dance, and knows everything about your dance experiences In Extreme Detail! The grocery store clerk, every cab driver, flight attendants, and yes, even the traffic cop who pulled you over because you accelerated while listening to Viennese Waltz music in your car. Talking about dancing gives you almost as much of a high as dancing does. And you love it!
- You, also, start planning your life to minimize any possibility of missing lessons and dance events. If you skip anything in your regular dance schedule, you feel just a bit of nausea until you get back to it.
- While all of these are strong signs, the absolute fool-proof indication of early ballroom addiction is when you have more dance shoes than street shoes.
Stage 2 – Sparkle Attraction
- This stage is when the obsession with The Bling might develop.
- When you walk down the street, you find yourself seeing and being attracted to anything that glitters, even in store windows that you once passed so many times before.
- Even though you might not wear much bling, you still crave seeing it. Places like the bank, or sports like tennis, which have no bling, seem a bit sad to you.
- You assess every piece of clothing for its ability to double as a practice outfit, or even a performance outfit if you add some of that bling.
- Even if you avoid the bling obsession in your visual priorities, you will start to have very ballroom specific physical priorities and abilities. You can dance for 4 hours straight every night of the week, and then samba to your car, but may look for an elevator to go down 1 floor.
Stage 3 – Start Thinking Dance
- By now you only listen to music that you can visualize dancing to. Any other type of music does not seem to have much purpose, as far as you are concerned.
- You no longer wear the majority of the shoes that you bought in stage one, because you have developed a special and unbreakable connection to that one awesomely comfortable pair. People think that you keep that pair near your front door to remind you to take it to practice, but it is really there as the first item to grab if the house ever caught on fire.
- You are now completely incapable of being in a elevator alone or passing a mirror without practicing even a tiny bit of technique.
- You pay attention to how you stand and walk in public– shoulders back, gut tucked in, chin high. The first few attempts are a bit awkward, to say the least. When people ask: “Are you OK?” or “Are you in pain?”, it just strengthens your resolve to keep your shoulders down and your arms loose. If the pros can look awesome AND natural, you can too! You just need another week, and everything will be perfect… Really!
Stage 4 – You’re Hooked…
- Your ballroom related senses have now become super keen. You can tell a rumba from a waltz in the first 2 beats. You can tell the quality of beading on any costume from a distance of 20 meters.
- You also refer to all the top couples by their first names, and talk about them like they are your first cousins who lived with you when you were growing up. You have great advice for each and every one of them, to improve their dancing. You have it all sorted out.
- Your house is full of costumes, dance shoes, make-up, hairspray and of course emergency hairspray carefully stashed away.
- You say you can quit any time you want… you are sure of it, but if someone asks you ”What are you going to do when you stop dancing?”, you look at them like your brain just short circuited. You are truly confused because asking such a question really does not make ANY sense in ANY way to you. When that stunned feeling passes, you start breathing normally again, and immediately give that person a GroupOn coupon for the nearby dance studio. They will understand soon enough. And it shall be awesome.