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I have been involved in various genres of dancing for much of my adult life. As I look back, I well remember my feelings at different points on my dance journey: my enthusiasm, my aspirations, my sheer love of the activity, along with my frustrations, insecurities, and disappointments.

The past few years, I have attended a line dancing class. I started out as a ground-level beginner, but have since attained a considerable level of skill. At times when the instructor is going over basic steps with new dancers, I take a break and watch. I notice that each dancer, no matter what her skill level, is deeply engrossed in her own dance journey. Each is intent on mastering the next level of steps. I see their joy when they succeed, and their frustration when they fail.

I have attempted to adopt the following code of ethics when it comes to dancing:

1. Respect the personal space of other dancers. Don’t presume that I can muscle my way in and displace others if they are occupying my preferred spot on the floor.

2. When it comes to requesting certain dances, don’t make more than my share. Defer to the desires of others, even if their requests aren’t among my favorites.

3. Respect the position of the instructor, even if I don’t agree with the way he’s doing things. Be grateful for the time and energy he puts into teaching. Refrain from jumping in with my opinion when it isn’t called for.

4. Curb my impatience with beginning dancers. Remember that I was once where they are.

5. Don’t interfere with another dancer’s experience. The dance represents something unique to each of them. Honor the feelings dancing brings them, even if those feelings are different than mine.

Now, let me follow the example I set for myself in the arena of dancing, and apply it to other aspects of my life.


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