Forward, to the side, glide back, cross the ankles, we flowed around and around the rectangle of the tango basic step. John’s lead was gentle yet solid. He neither pushed nor pulled me around the floor, but lightly suggested where he wanted me to go. My body followed instinctively, not following because my head knew the steps, but because my body was inexplicably drawn toward this body leading it. We practiced over and over, each step bringing me deeper into the feeling of terrific happiness that I always found when I moved my body to music. By the end of the class I had gotten good enough at the basic step to join the group. I had also gotten very curious about who this John person was.
It turns out, John was curious about me, too. At the end of the class he asked to take me salsa dancing, which I didn’t really know how to do but was all too happy to have him teach me. A few weeks of spending time together on the dance floor built up a chemistry that led to spending time off the dance floor as well.
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That was all five years ago. With John by my side, I’ve learned eleven different partner dances, accessed and thrived in my capacity for joy, performed and taught dance and in the process: developed a love and relationship better than any I’ve ever had. With a little help from a fabulous hypnotherapist coupled with a lot more work on my part (and support from John), I kicked the PTSD once and for all, too. Now, we still dance constantly and are choreographing and teaching my brother and his fiancé a tango for the first dance at their wedding this summer. Joy and love are so much more bountiful when we share and pass them on.