I Always Wanted to Be a Dancer...
Wednesday, June 13, 2012Tweet
I had a dream that I joined a dance troupe.
It was supposed to be the first day, but it was clear upon arriving that all the other members -- who were all middle-aged women -- had been practicing together for years and had all their choreographed routines down. At the front was a woman who was shouting out directions, but things like "Step out!" and "Push out!" were completely meaningless to me, who scrambled desperately to keep up by watching the rest of the group.
Oh, wait, did I say this was a dream? I meant it was my new exercise class.
Yup, as I said last week, I joined an exercise class through our park district. It's an hour of cardio followed by 45 minutes of strength training.
In all fairness, I did quite enjoy it. My main concerns going in were that I would pass out or I would collapse in a heap of sore muscles halfway through, but I was able to make it through the whole thing without too much difficulty, though I clearly got a good workout and worked probably every muscle in my body. And the instructor has good taste in music -- mostly popular stuff from the past few years.
But I was not expecting to be "the new girl," nor was I expecting that the cardio portion would be like the line dancing lesson we did in middle school, except that everyone else already knew all the moves and there was no lesson, just incomprehensible directions and "follow along!" I found myself being grateful for those dancing lessons in school that I knew what a "grapevine" and a "box step" were, but it was clear that some things were just created out of her own head.
Did I mention everything had hand motions?
This was probably the part I screwed up the most, because while I eventually picked up on what most of the moves meant to do with your feet (though the "double twist" still eludes me), I couldn't keep straight whether your hands went up on the "lift and cross" or the "kick and cross" and if they went up on every step or every other step for the grapevines and shuffles. So I was the one waving my arms in the air by myself most of the time, which everyone could see because I'd positioned myself in the empty spot in the very middle of the room.
So yeah, I looked like an idiot for the majority of the class.
However, the class provided a good opportunity to reflect on how much I've changed. Previously -- even as recently as college -- I would have been mortified to have been stumbling around like a fool in the middle of a bunch of women who were all following along seamlessly. But of all things I felt, embarrassment was not one of them.
I was actually able to reflect on the fact that while everyone else was following along mostly from memory, I was having to go through multiple steps every second: Hear the command, watch the instructor, link the command and the move in my mind, and then actually get my body to reflect what I saw, in rhythm. I felt frustrated when I couldn't get my mind and body to work together. I laughed when she would call out something brand-new and I'd say, "What??" I was proud at how quickly I learned given what I'd walked into, and on the rare occasions that I nailed a whole series of moves, I had a surge of, "This is fun!" the same way I enjoy doing line dances I know at weddings.
I also reminded myself that this wasn't a performance, it was an exercise class, and that given that I achieved an elevated heart rate for the better part of an hour, I had by all counts succeeded.
Thankfully, a few women looked out for me when the strength training portion started. One showed me where the hand weights were, and another offered to share a mat with me when it was time to get one out of the same closet. The first woman did sort of raise her eyebrows at my low choice of weight, though I chose to take it as a compliment that she thought I was stronger than that -- which, believe me, I wasn't, given that I was wishing partway through that I'd chosen a lower one!
Then I came home and slept for two hours.
Looking forward to doing it all over again this Saturday!
Have you ever taken an exercise or dance class?