Lessons From Dance

Recently I took up ballroom dancing. It has been a challenging shift, since my only previous history was in very casual swing dancing. In that realm, I felt reasonably confident because I’d memorized the majority of the steps that anyone ever did with me. Ballroom? Oh, it’s a whole different story.

I had no idea learning ballroom would give me such a vivid object lesson for what faith looks like.

I chuckle writing that. Growing up, those close to me looked at most dancing as some kind of romantic cesspool. Perhaps in the context of a high school prom this may potentially be the case. But here? Remembering steps to whichever of the myriad of dances we’re on takes up most of my brain power. Whatever mental energy is left after that is divided between learning new steps, staying on beat, and trying not to step on my partner.

Lucky for me, I’m a girl, so I get to dance the follow role (from what I understand, it’s easier going in than learning lead). As I’ve worked on my skills in this role, I keep noticing parallels to Christianity…

Follows mirror their partner.

If the follow doesn’t mirror the lead, everything gets thrown out of whack. If I were to decide to quit mirroring him and do my own thing, neither of us would have a nice time. Plus, we would look terrible to everyone else. Similarly, Christians are called to mirror Christ – and in the moments that we fail to, things can be all sorts of screwed up.

Follows don’t always know everything that will happen – just the next steps.

It would cause more confusion than clarity if my partner told me at the start precisely what steps and moves we would make for the entirety of a song. There is just no way I could comprehend that. All I can do is feel the direction he nudges me and move appropriately. In life it is the same; God doesn’t generally tell people exactly how it’s all going to go down ahead of time. We’re simply called to be alert to His leading and follow through with the next move.

Follows trust their partner.

It takes a lot of energy just to keep up the dance steps. I am SO GLAD I don’t have to also worry about where I am going. I know my lead is a good guy who will keep me safe. In the same way, we are called to trust God in His goodness as we go through life. He knows what He is doing.

Who knew dancing could grow my heart and mind?

You just never know where there is a lesson to be learned or a reminder to notice. I’m looking forward to many more lessons – both on the dance floor and off of it.

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