Small minds and minor setbacks

I'm a 32 year old South African woman and a retired ballet dancer who took up dancesport a year ago. At the time I thought that my late start and the search for an ideal partner would be the hardest part of the challenge. I was partly wrong.

I found my ideal partner almost immediately. A brilliant dancer and patient teacher who took me straight into the adult championship level. How lucky can a girl get?

Lucky or not, I still encountered my fare share of blisters, slog and tantrums (all mine). I often felt there just wasn't enough money or time to improve as fast as I would have like to. Needless to say, costumes, shoes, travel and lessons don't exactly come cheap.

As it turned out, my greatest challenge would be the incredible bias of my conservative Afrikaner family. Why? Muntu is a black man, and I'm a white woman. We hardly noticed. We're still convinced our ebony-ivory duo is a match made in dance heaven. Ok, so he works nights and I work days. He lives in a black township and I live in one of the last "great" apartheid outposts. He's got natural rhythm and I've got... a car.

We soon realised that our belief in each other, the mutual respect we share, and the unconditional support of our trainers, fellow competitors and friends far outweigh small minds and minor setbacks. Muntu, you're a great dancer, a great partner and a great human being. Thanks, my friend, for believing in the whitey. She won't let you down!

Dina De Vine, alias "Dances with Darkies".
South Africa, Jan 2001

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