Are You A Ballroom Dance Addict? Check here for signs.

Are You a Ballroom Dance Addict?

Ballroom Dance Addict at Applause Dance Factory Jackson MS
Ballroom Dance Addict at Applause Dance Factory Ridgeland MS

I first discovered I was a ballroom dance addict when I noticed a woman at the mall laughing at me.  It was only then that I realized that I was dancing through the clothing racks.  It was in an anchor store at the North Park Mall in Ridgeland, a suburb of Jackson, MS.  I don’t remember which store exactly.  It might have been a J C Penny.

In my defense, there was music (actually muzak) playing in the background.  I don’t recall the song but it was 4/4 time, a foxtrot of sorts.  Also, because the clothing racks were offset, it was necessary to weave to and fro through the racks.

Back to the laughing lady.  She had had her laugh, so now it was my turn.  The store was having a sale and had helium balloons all over the place.  So while she was at a register paying for her items, I tied a balloon to the back of her purse which was slung over her shoulder.

Half an hour later I could still see the balloon bobbing around the store.  I still laugh when I remember it.  She probably didn’t notice the balloon until she tried to put her purse in her car.

The video below will help you recognize the signs of ballroom dance addiction.  Below the video is a transcript if you would rather read than watch.

How Ballroom Addiction Begins

Yeah. I mean… I got a problem, I know that.  I’ve known for a while. Um. Ah. It wasn’t always really a problem. I know that everyone says that, but, I mean, you start off innocent enough. I. I started doing it at social events you know at parties with the right crowd.  You know I wasn’t really into it but I tried it once or twice.

Now the first time it was a girl that pressured me to.  I thought she was cute and I didn’t want to seem like I wasn’t cool.  So I tried it and I stuck with it.  And you know once, once you’ve started it’s really hard to stop.  And at first, you hang out with, you still hang out with your old friends and they just don’t know.  But then, sure enough after a while, you’ll be in a coffee shop or something with some of your friends that don’t do it and you’ll start shaking.  And they’ll look over and like dude you okay?  No, I’m just cold but you’re not cold.  It’s because there was a Samba playing and you can’t sit still when that happens.  And you got it you got to get your fix in.

Ballroom Addiction Happens Fast

For me it did happen pretty fast.  Um, it was innocent enough, single swing, a little bit of here and there.  And then somebody, you know, one day noticed that I was kind of down; said hey you want to try some ballroom.  And you know, I’d heard about ballroom, and I figured, you know,there couldn’t be really any harm trying it once.  So it was, it was a rumba.  Rumba was my first hit and before I knew it, you know, cha cha and it got me into the waltz.

That was American;  I did international style too, actually; and before I knew it I, you know, I’m three stepping down, three stepping down the sidewalk and you know Rumba walking to class.  Just, ah, one cha cha here. maybe maybe learn a jive, before you know it, you know you’re learning flecherls.  And you’re looking up things on…,you know, it’s just too easy.

Ballroom Dancing Can Take Over Your Life

It takes up, it really takes over your whole life.   Like you don’t have any life outside of it.  I mean, you know all your friends are just your friends that do it too and you know that’s where all your time and all your money goes.  You get a free minute and you know you don’t do anything productive like, you know, play a video game or look up things on Hulu.  You go hmm, I gotta go. I’m gonna go dance right now.

Your partner will call you up and be like; hey let’s go to the studio an’ practice and you go okay man, but I can’t stay long, um, ya know, just an hour.  And you think okay, 8:00 I’ll be back in, you know, 9:30, and before you know it you’re sitting in a coffee shop sip’n on bubble tea with ten other members of the team and it’s 11:30.  You have no idea where those two, three hours went and you’ll never get them back.

Hours Of Ballroom Dance Practice

We do things like, the other weekend I, I practiced for, uh, I practiced for five hours straight with my partner and I wasn’t even, ah.  I was sore at the end.  I was tired and I didn’t even care.  And, you know what, I went home and first thing I did, now i’m not proud of this. But first thing I did when I got home, I, I jumped on; I jumped on the internet and I started, I started watching YouTube videos of World Superstars Dance Festival.

You know, um, and everybody, everybody’s tried that.  You know, I know you you look up and you see, you know, how a Arunas does his three step and how Victor Fung does his, you know, does his natural 123.  And start seeing Yulia & Riccardo’s sliding doors and it looks so good you just, and you can’t stop watching it, you know.

My Family Supports My Ballroom Dancing

It’s… and my family knows, you know, my immediately, my immediate family knew right away actually.  Um, you know, I don’t live at home or anything like that, so they, you know, they, they supported me, no, no I mean, they, they gave me emotional support, you know.

I was coming off a sprained ankle and I told my doctor and he knows, isn’t sure, that it’s healthy in the first place and told me I shouldn’t be messing with that stuff when ya know I’m on a sprained ankle; but I go to this wedding and, and all my cousins are there and, you know, it was, it was a hustle, which is innocent enough, but before I knew it I was dancing two with two of my cousins at the same time.  My crutches are over there and I look over and I see my younger cousins faces and it’s like they don’t even know me and it’s, you know, it’s just easy when it’s that accessible, because, uh, yeah…

I, I know a guy in town, who he, um, has his own, like studio, and so you know if I… I know plenty of other people like, got the same problem as me, and, you know, I send them, send him his way, when he needs a fix, so he takes good care of me, stuff like that.  But, I mean, to get some of the good stuff, yeah, I’ll drive two or three hours; Ann Arbor, Chicago.  Like, I mean, there’s some good ballroom dancing out there and it’s, you know, when you, when you got to get your fix man, you gotta get it.

Ballroom Dance . . . You Can’t Turn It Off

Good jive comes on, Samba comes on, ya gotta move it. No, you can’t turn it off.  You go to a club and think oh, like you just, you think, I can go back.  You know, I can go back.  I can stop anytime I want.  So you go to a swing dance and you think, I can get by.  But, you know, a heavy beat comes on and you start triple steppin’.  As if you can just get by doing Lindy Hop.  But no, you start triple steppin’.  You go to a salsa club and think you’re fine; and then you don’t even realize it, you’re breaking on the two.

Hmm, my buddy Matt and I went to a swing dance once, and he’s, he’s, he’s into that stuff too, you know, he’s into ballroom.  But, um, we thought we just go on, you know, it’s a pretty light-hearted crowd.  We would, you know, we wouldn’t, we wouldn’t have access to it.  You know, we were really trying to support each other, but sure enough, they
started they started playing a jive.  And, um, none of the followers there, none of the followers there knew what they were doing.  And, um, so yeah, I uh, I followed.  Don’t judge me! Don’t you judge me! I followed and dance was great. And I was not half bad either.

You’re Practicing Ballroom Dancing Everywhere

You’re sitting in class the professor is talking about something. And you’re, all you’re doing is tapping your foot.  Or you’re at work and, you know, somebody asks you to come over to their office, but you don’t just walk.  You feather and three step the whole way there.  And, you know, you think. Oh! Innocent enough.  Or, you know, you’re, you got a job where you got to stand for a little bit.  You’re standing in place and you don’t realize it; but you’re compressing, and rising and falling.  And this is so easy to do everywhere that the you can’t escape it.

You know.  You don’t even know this.  I probably shouldn’t even tell you this.  But, you know, I’m at the studio in fact.  See this ballroom.  The big ballroom’s between those doors. But, like if, if I go in there, I’m done for rest of the night.  I mean there’s enough room in there to do a full, full round of standard in there. Oh!  I’ll be runnin’ in circles all night.

Looks Become Important

You get dressed and you get all cleaned up.  You’re all clean shaven and yougot gel in your hair.  And you got your nice button down shirt on.  And then, you know, all you can think is; how’s my frame? You wake up in the morning and you ah, head to the mirror.  And the first thing, you look at yourself.  And you stare at yourself in the eye you just, look, and you go oh! I look fantastic.

But now, I’m just, I’m just trying to get help, you know, trying to find anything that can really help, help me with this problem. But um, once you really get into it, you really can’t get out.There, you start experimenting with things like, with things like tanning and hair styling.  And, you know you, you start buying shirts with skinnier sleeves and stuff. And you start just thinking, you know, Ah man, maybe if I, you know, get done with work on time I can get the studio a little earlier and stuff like that.

Yeah!  Um, one thing been promising lately is dubstep.  I can’t figure out how to dance to that to save my life.  And that’s, that really might be what saves my life is that is the fact that I can’t dance to it.

Safe Places To Dance Like Applause Dance Factory

So, just to let you know guys, for those of you out there that have the same problem as me.  You know that, there are safe places that, you know, you can be safe about it.  Instead of just learning things off of YouTube; you know, you, you can get, at least, make sure that you’re being safe, you know; that you’re dancing with people that can actually lead or follow; that you know you’re, you’re in an actual dance floor or something like that.  You don’t want to be doing it this like street dancing and stuff like that.

So yeah, so I guess the real point here is, um, I’m, my name is Cloud Cray and I am a ballroom addict.  You know that’s, that’s the first step right, is admitting. Um, so, I’m hopefully on my way to recovery. Ya know, that’s step one and two, three one two three, Uh!  Anyway, see there it goes again.  I gotta go.

So, so remember, if, if you or someone you know is experimenting with ballroom dancing; be sure to let them know of the dangers. It’s very addicting and it…  As healthy as somebody might tell you that it is and how clean it is, just, just be careful.  That’s some serious stuff, alright!

by Cloud Cray


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