Rio Rhythmic’s “Tell your dance story” project aims to highlight the accomplishments, transformations and achievements of members in our community.
Grace and Adam’s dance story
I started Latin dance with Rio rhythmics in July 2016, just trying to learn new things, socialise with people, trying to make new friends as I had been living in rural area for years without making new friends.
I’m actually an introvert and I don’t really know how to react with people in big groups naturally, but it’s easier when we all have one other common language: music.
I’ve always loved music, whether it’s singing or playing an instrument, it’s the most comfortable way of expressing myself. So when I dance, it’s like another way of conversation with people, through the music and body movement.
I met Adam in my Latin Dance Starter class. He was one of the Student Supporters, but not until the Starter Festiva did we really talk. When I started to come to Latin Mix parties on Saturdays, Adam would ask me for dances, and sometimes 2 or 3 dances in a row. It’s always a pleasure to dance with a skilled partner and Adam is very fun and pleasant to dance with. But realising he is very popular on the dance floor, I tried not to think too much if there was any thing else than we both enjoyed dancing together. So it was a surprise when he offered to walk me to my car and asked me out for dinner.
There is definitely something magical when we dance together. He once told me it’s amazing how we hear the same things in music. We are basically very different people, but I’m glad that music and dancing brought us together. We both embrace our differences and dance helps us to express our love for each other.
Dancing has been an amazing journey to freedom. I still remember being scared just to walk down the hallway to sign up. We listen to so many people in society about what is normal and what isn’t, what you should do and what you shouldn’t, and unfortunately in Kiwi and Aussie culture ‘dancing is for girls’. Thankfully I’ve learned to ignore the advice of crowds and take the advice of successful people. If you want to be happy, then ask a happy person for advice. Dancing people always look pretty happy!
As with most guys that come through Rio Rhythmics’ doors, our challenges with dancing aren’t in moving our legs, but in fighting the battles in our heads that tell us all the reasons we shouldn’t dance. This is where I was lucky to have Tarcisio for my first lesson. Tarcisio understands that us guys are smart enough to figure out patterns and timing and leading, but if we don’t first win the head battle we won’t be around long enough to do so.
I have been privileged throughout the years to be part of the Student Support Team. I get to be part of so many people’s dance journey, and I particularly enjoy seeing the guys that get out on the social dance floor and ‘get it’. That spark of freedom when they realise that they don’t need lots of moves to have a good time.
A few years into my dance journey I remember being in a Student Support information session, and heard some words that made me again realise how lucky I was. They were “The dance community is the way that you make it”. From this I understood two things. One, the amount of effort that the various members of the Rio community put in to make the community a great place, and also my responsibility to assist and ensure it stays that way.
My experience with finding out how wrong I had originally been about dancing led me to try a number of other things that I thought were ‘a waste of time’ I’ve done Bollywood, Ballet, and even drumming. I am always amused now when I hear myself on the inside say “I’ll never do X” because it means I probably will give it a go.
April 16 2012 is my dance birthday. The day I had my first dance lesson, and the day I took the journey to freedom. The day that I stopped living the life I had been told to live and started to live my own life. I celebrate this every year because it reminds me of the good fortune I’ve had from dancing, and the good fortune I want as many other people to experience as well.
I have a lot of people that have helped me in my own journey. The staff at Rio Rhythmics throughout the years, but in particular Tarcisio, the master of getting your mindset right for dancing. I’m indebted to my first student supporters Karl and Ben who kept me calm and told me I was doing well. I’m lucky to have many people in the Rio community that encouraged me when I started dancing such as Leah, who showed me it’s OK not to be perfect, and always more fun when you aren’t.
Some great advice I’ve had through the years:
“You aren’t as good as you look like, you are as good as your partner enjoys dancing with you”
“What other endeavour do you get to improve at by partying?”
“Look at your partner”
“Connection, Connection, Shimmy”
“Step three times”
“The community is what you make it”
Some of the things I say a lot to people:
“If you are smiling you are doing it right” – The move doesn’t matter.
“Classes don’t give you the rules, they give you the guidelines.” – Realise this and you are free
“If it’s not fun, don’t do it” – After dancing non-stop for a year or two people often forget they don’t need to be doing classes 7 days a week.
“That guy is good” – Watching a guy doing no moves because he is paying attention to his partner.
As with all good romance stories there are two sides.
I met Grace last year (2016). I was her student supporter for her Saturday class. The day she came to Festiva was the first time I really noticed her. She stayed for the party and we spent half the night dancing. I offered to walk her to her car at the end and she said no.
The following week Grace and I danced a lot again. At the end of the night I asked if she’d like me to walk her to her car and she said yes. At her car I asked her if she’d like to go out for dinner the following week, she said she was taking someone else out to dinner. Then she looked like she panicked and told me it was just a guy who was too nervous to come to the Saturday night and she was trying to get him to relax and come along.
The third week Grace came with her nervous friend and we spent a lot of time dancing together. I dipped her on the dance floor and kissed her, and she didn’t slap me, so we arranged to go out to dinner the following week.
Grace is an amazing lady. I’ve experienced being in sync with a lot of women, but the one thing that stuck out with Grace was that her Bachata musicality matched my own. We were dancing to exactly the same part of the song even when we were free-styling.
I got to celebrate my 5th dance birthday with Grace with Forró at a park for lunch doing shadow dancing to the moonrise on the beach. I proposed to Grace on the 30th of September during Riverfire. She said yes.
If you are inspired by Grace and Adam’s story we urge you to take your first step to freedom through Latin dance with us. You can start dancing now!
If you’d like to have a chat with one of our friendly team please give us a call us on 3844 1824 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.