Hi there! Mama here.
So you know those things you always think would be so great and fun to do (pilates for pregnancy, hip hop moves, guided meditation) that you go out and buy an instructional video? For me, it was learning to dance with my husband for our wedding. We bought Drew's Famous Step By Step Wedding Dances while we were still engaged, intending to learn all six dances and impress everyone at our reception. As the months went on, however, we decided on an outdoor picnic wedding and ended up foregoing dancing in favor of volleyball and horseshoes (which, sadly, didn't pan out because it rained that day) and naturally, the dancing DVD was shoved aside and forgotten.

It's not like we never tried again--we attended a free swing dancing group on campus during our last semester in college. We tried really hard, but for some reason what we were doing just didn't look like what the teachers were doing and it was hard to keep up. We tried to practice what we'd learned later on at home, but without much success, and so with great sadness I hung up my proverbial dancing shoes and vowed never to swing dance again.

Fast forward to last month as I was making my "30 Goals in 30 Weeks" list: I thought about how my husband and I have been together over seven years and still haven't learned a single dance together. I thought about how cool it would be if we could actually do it, but then I remembered how frustrated I'd been when I couldn't keep up with the teachers in that class we took and I almost put the idea out of my mind, but then I remembered the wedding dance DVD! For nearly seven years, it's been packed in a box, unopened and forgotten...until now! Click "Read More" below to find out what happened!  
I told my husband about my goal and about how we still had the DVD, and he was just as pumped as I was (maybe even a little too pumped?) to give dancing another go. The six dances on the DVD are: Fox Trot, Swing, Tango, Waltz, Rhumba, and Cha-Cha. We wanted to focus on just one to start with, and my husband was dead set on overcoming our fears from the previously botched swing dancing attempt, so that was the dance we chose (even though the video instructor promised us that the Tango is "one of the hottest dances around today." (The video was released in 2004, but the outfits they're wearing look more like the early seasons of Friends, so I think it may have actually been filmed in the late nineties.*)  

We spent a good couple of hours that evening learning the steps in single-time Swing to the tune of "When the Saints Go Marching In" (odd choice for a dance, no?). The guy in the video (Greg Gale) first explains the lead/male part and then his partner (Nancy Hays) does the female part. Greg narrates (I swear, the likeness of his voice to Elliott Gould's is uncanny) and Nancy gives little side comments in between each section and I think she's opening her eyes as wide as she possibly can. It's pretty hilarious.

By the end of the night, I'm proud to say that we were swinging away! Sure, we stepped on each other's toes a few times and we haven't quite mastered the art of the counter-clockwise turn, but I am confident that we could dance a single-time Swing to any appropriate song...plus, I feel like a rock star. Sayonara, Goal #2!

Next week, my goal is to hand stitch something. I've never stitched before (I've hand sewn a little to close seams and such, but I've never done anything decorative), but there are a ton of tutorials online and I think I could probably learn enough to make something cute. And anyway it can't hurt to try, right?

Do you have any old learn-it-at-home DVDs lying around? If so, shake the dust off this week and give that sucker a try, no matter how silly/crazy/pointless it seems. I bet you'll feel really accomplished when you're done and that you'll have a great time doing it! Oh, and definitely be sure to leave a comment and let me know how it goes!

-- Mama

*So I looked it up, and YES! The video was first released in 1997--seasons 3 & 4 of Friends--under the title "Bring Back the Romance of Dance"! Awesome.
This is post #2/30 in my "30 Goals In 30 Weeks" series. I'm working on one goal a week for the 30 weeks leading up to my 30th birthday. Join me by setting goals of your own! You don't need to have a special time frame in mind, just choose something simple that you think will make you happy, and go for it!
 



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