Dancing With the Polka Lady

When I first started going out to bars and clubs I would see people dancing and thought that’s something that I would like to do, but just didn’t have the self confidence to get up there on the floor. So, I made the decision that I was going to learn how to dance and after looking through the Yellow Pages, I found a dance studio up on Harford Road and as I made the appointment I pictured myself up on the dance floor wooing all the ladies with my Travolta like moves. The only problem was this dance studio wasn’t about that kind of dancing but catered to the ‘Ballroom and Contest Dancing’ enthusiasts. Of course I didn’t know this until I showed up all decked out in my jeans and polo.

The lady that greeted me reminded me of an old Polka dancer as she introduced herself to me. She was about 60 and had on a bright multi-colored dress that ballooned out at the bottom. After spending some time talking about the dance studio, and her asking me what I was looking to get out of it, I knew I was in over my head but figured I had to at least follow through and make the best of it. She ushered me back into one of the rooms, and after putting on some kind of ‘strange’ music, she said, “oooo-kay, show me what you can do”. I tried to loosen up and did a couple of moves throwing my left leg out and then the right, but I was stiffer than a board as the Polka lady hopped up and down while clapping her hands. Mercifully, this ended after a few minutes as she stated, “well, when you come de next time, we will dance together”. As you can imagine, that next time never came.

As it turned out, I didn’t need any dance lessons for the kind of dancing I wanted to do, just needed to relax, enjoy myself and let the body mesh with the music. It was really just a matter of getting over the fear of making a fool of myself and after hitting the floor a couple of times down at Fells Point, it was as natural to me as breathing. I don’t know if the dance studio is still up there on Harford Road but every time I get up that way I’m reminded of my sole dance lesson with the Polka lady hopping up and down as I thought to myself, “well, this a fine mess you’ve gotten yourself into this time Ollie”.

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