Wednesday, Oct. 09, 2013 @ 6:50 pm
It took me four months to build up the courage, and tonight I went to my first dance class. It was more of a boot camp style fitness class, but the moves come from classical dance genres.
I had this idea that I was a good dancer - I mean, when I go to a nightclub (umm ok, when I last when to a night club 10 years ago...) I *think* that I can dance pretty awesome, though I realize now that might have something to do with the alcohol part. I also had this idea that I was fit and coordinated, mainly due to my running in minimalist shoes. I mean, heck, I ran 10km on Sunday barefoot and didn't even feel it the next day.
So I had this dream that I was going to be this late-in-life dancing prodigy. That I'd be a natural, and that the teacher would like pull me aside and encourage me to take a more advanced class. That's what always happened with horseback riding, which is the only other real organized lesson sport that I have participated in. Oh, wait, I took some windsurfing lessons when I was 16, and I was a total prodigy in that class too.
Well, I guess you can see where this is going. I suppose it's good to be humbled, but this was supposed to boost my self-confidence not destroy it.
I entered the dance studio and was so nervous and excited to be there. A long expanse of wooden floor, mirrors all around, gorgeous leggy girls in tights and high ponytails. And then me. Kind of stumpy, flabby around the hips, awful arms. No turnout.
I fall behind constantly. I watch the others in the mirrors, and their arms are graceful and their toes pointed. My arms are asymmetrical, with the right one constantly drooping like a bird with a broken wing. Their bodies curve all lithe and taught, and mine bunches around the hips and stomach as I lean to the side. My hair falls out of my pony tail, and the instructor tells me I'm doing 'great', which actually means that I look awful and she knows that I know that I look awful and she doesn't want me to give up.
I want to be that girl - the leggy lithe one with the taught body. How one class can realize how far behind I am, that my age has caught up with me, that the gifts of youth are diminishing. To run in a straight line is one thing - to move your body in a graceful arc is another.
Will I give up? No. I will not.
I put myself out there. The first group exercise class of my life. I went first to do the set of moves across the floor, knowing that there was no way of hiding my awfulness. You know what? That's bravery. For me, that is the ultimate act of bravery. Scrambling around an exposed ledge on a mountain? No worries. Cycling along the shoulder of the Sea-to-Sky highway? Didn't bother me. Eating raw fish? That's no biggie. Being the dance moves guinea pig in front of seven graceful dancer girls? Now that is scary.
You know what I'm going to do? I'm going to commit to ten classes. I'm going to force myself to be awful ten times before deciding whether I'm truly hopeless.
I'm nothing if not stubborn.