I did something that, to me, was very daring tonight.
I went to a drop in hip hop class.
Let me give you the background. I'll keep it brief. (I do tend to be verbose.)
When I was a preteen/teenage/early 20's, I trained classical ballet with a really great teacher and also? A super pack of mean girls, headed up by one particular mean girl who was (is?) ten years older than me - and she decided that I was the enemy and you know,
it doesn't really matter. I can hide behind it all day long. Suffice it to say that the super mean woman was the teacher of the jazz/hip hop class, and I most assuredly was NOT welcome in that class. I tried a few times, because this was at the height of the Michael Jackson dance craze, and I really, really wanted to dance like him. It was made super apparent to me that I just wasn't part of the crowd.
And so I dropped out, and focused on ballet - despite the fact that even at age 15, it was clear and apparent that I most assuredly do not have a ballet body. And I never went back to hip hop or jazz. I didn't think I was good enough, and it colored my dance experience for many, many years.
But. We all have baggage, don't we? Everyone has baggage of one kind or another, and the best thing to do in life is to just let the baggage get left behind when you move on to the next phase or stage of your life.
And so, when a studio affiliated with the performing arts school my kids attend offered a drop in Uptown Funk class - to learn the dance - I went. Despite the fact that I never was able to take jazz - I'm a pretty good dancer. I love to dance. And one thing I've learned - somewhat painfully at times - is
that absolutely zero people care what you look like in tights and leotard and even fewer people care what you dance like.
Everyone is too busy worrying about themselves.
And it didn't matter that I wasn't the best dancer - because I wasn't.
And it didn't matter that I wasn't the worst dancer - because there was one woman who came in, watched three minutes of the class and left - she was overwhelmed. No matter how much we encouraged, she was having none of it. I understood, I really did - but I wish she would have stayed.
And it didn't matter that my dancer brain was picking up the steps like a champ but my old lady feet that have gotten to be much better at boxing were slower in picking up the steps
because I just - was.
I just danced. I tried not to look at myself in the mirror, that super critical enemy of every dancer, from 6 to 60. The mirror that hides nothing, that shows every sickled foot/relaxed tummy/low extension. I tried not to think about the fact that I was the oldest in the classroom by probably TWENTY years - and in some cases, 30. I tried not to think about the fact that I was the heaviest, the one with sloppy hair all over the place, the least fashionably dressed, the one who was often a count behind because she just could NOT remember that the step ball change came before the hip shimmy and the "pop, kiss" was after the arm wrap.
I "got" about half of the dance. I don't care. (We only learned up until the first refrain. The next classes will work on the rest, should I decide to return.)
And? I'm thinking about it. I'm thinking hard. I really need that release. I need to not think about what I'm doing and just - move.
It's a challenge for me. And, right now, I think I need to be challenged.