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  • I think they originally might have come because there was no nice way to say no. If parents offer to volunteer and do something nice for the school community, I guess the teachers feel a little bit obliged. Especially as it was a small international school.

    My husband and I had offered to teach dance, to continue our dancing in a new country. We didn't have a lot of friends, and missed our dance buddies, so we hoped we might be able to get some of both.

    So we had our first after-school activity for the grown-ups, dance lessons in the school cafeteria. It was a very small group, and like beginners usually they were nervous. They nodded politely when we showed what we were going to do, and almost managed to hide the "yeah, right" face when we said everyone will learn.

    Even though I've seen it countless times, the change in a group of people who learn dance together is fascinating. Regardless of how well people know each other, there's a lot of out-of-comfort-zone stuff happening. Even for people who are married to each other, sometimes.

    Touching each other is one thing. Even if you are at arms length, you still touch, the whole time and in front of other people. In the beginning when the music stops, everyone immediately lets go. After a couple of months, people stop and listen to instructions, still half way in a dance hold. They start hugging each other hello, and they let you hold their hand while you explain without freaking out.

    Then there's the whole leading and following thing. It does take quite a bit of trust to let someone move you around, to just follow them without analysing it too much. And it takes some courage and self confidence to start moving someone else around on the dance floor if you are not too sure you know how it's done.

    I imagine it does not help if any of these someones is your boss, or someone who works for you. Or the teacher of your child.

    Still we, teachers and parents, went down this road together. Every Thursday evening the teachers became students and us parents became teachers. The first weeks we wondered each time who would come back, and were they having a good time.

    After some time I realised something had changed. The dance was still mostly pretty clunky, but it was definitely dance. I no longer wondered if anyone was there because they felt they had to.

    The touching, the leading and all that stuff had gotten easier as it tends to do, but this time it was different for us. We weren't observing the group from the outside as dance teachers, it wasn't us and them anymore. We had became friends and we all liked to dance. We, the people who liked to dance.

    Now we have again moved to a different country, and the members of our little dance group have scattered to three continents. We keep in touch, but you can't dance together over facebook. I hope they still dance.
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