IMPORTANT STEPS

Consider dance lessons to make your wedding day extra special.

I expected to be the center of attention on our wedding day, and wanted to be able to dance with my new husband and look good doing it. My fiancé did not share this vision and was certainly not comfortable with the idea of dance lessons. This bothered me a little bit at first but I shook it off, knowing that our guests would not expect Fred and Ginger; they just wanted to share our day and as long as we could shuffle back and forth, it would be good enough.

I had taken ballroom lessons with my brother, Joe, when we were kids. He was a year younger and I guess he had always looked up to me. We enjoyed our lessons together and regularly took home gold and silver medals from various competitions. Our mother laboured over our costumes, sewing on sequins until I could barely lift the folds of satin and lace to get the dresses over my head.

Boy, did we look good together though, our arms locked in position, backs arched and heads turned gracefully. I felt like a princess, twirling around the dance floor, the faces of spectators a blur of colour around me. Joe was always happy to let me boss him around; I never truly appreciated his patience.

It was when puberty kicked in and I outgrew my brother in height that our partnership came to an end. We had always been close growing up, but without the dancing, we began to grow apart. We both missed our camaraderie but never found much time for one another during the difficult teen years.

It was when we were in our early twenties that we found our friendship again. Both in need of a roommate, we decided to move in together. As we helped one another load our belongings into the basement suite, we reminisced over pictures dug out of boxes that showed us in our ballroom attire, hands clasping medals, our faces lit with joy. It wasn’t long before we were pushing aside the couch on Saturday afternoons to practice our favourite samba routine.

This was the way that we bonded; the subject we had in common. We could both converse easily about the steps, the pace of the music, and the memories of our competitions.

The brief time as roommates allowed us to know one another again, but this time as adults and friends. Joe was a kind and considerate brother. He cooked soup for me when I was sick and offered to help with various parties that I hosted. We had lots of fun that year. It was a time I remember fondly.

When I met my future husband, I was excited for everyone to get to know him, especially Joe. We fell in love fast and within a month were talking of getting married. I moved out of the basement suite, and Joe took another roommate. I never looked back, caught up in the wedding plans and focusing on bridesmaid dresses and photographers. My life again was caught up in satin and sequins but Joe was not a part of it this time.

And so the big day arrived, and everything seemed perfect—until the dancing began. My husband and I got through the first dance, swaying to the music and smiling at one another as family snapped pictures. I knew my sweetheart couldn’t wait until the song was over and I felt some regret that I had not urged him to try a lesson or two. It may have helped him get through this uncomfortable moment.

It was when we were headed back to our seats that I noticed the video camera focused on us. My smile broke as I realized how awkward we would look on the dance floor. I had not admitted to myself until now how truly important it was for me to have my love of dance be a part of my special day. If I could have rolled back time, I would have explained to my fiancé how I wanted to have one dance in my beautiful dress—one moment to feel like a princess again. He would have understood and we could have taken some lessons. Now it was too late.

A couple of dances later I was over my regret and enjoying watching all my friends and loved ones in each other’s arms. I was standing on the edge of the dance floor, clapping in time to a fast song, when the music suddenly switched to a slow waltz. I was perplexed for a moment until I noticed Joe heading toward me, his hand outstretched and a sly smile on his face. With a flush of feeling, I took his hand as he led me to the center of the floor. Everyone stepped smoothly out of the way as our waltz began. I saw my wonderful husband smile and wink as he watched us skim across the floor in perfect time. My eyes overflowed as my brother, my friend, whispered, “I’m not only losing my sister—I’m losing my best friend.”

I knew then that remembering the steps wasn’t important; it was the people who danced with you through life who should be remembered.

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