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So I Thought I Could Dance

June 16, 2010

Dears,  I love to dance.  I don’t get the opportunity to go out dancing as much as I used to, but I am always up for an impromptu dance party at home {and I am actually looking forward to Step Up 3D. Don’t judge me, my love of the dance movie genre is pure.}.  I specialize in the Janky-Goofus style {my own creation, I am a visionary}, though I am open to learning new ways of expressing myself through the Art of Dance – which is why I recently begged Mrs. Frothy to invite me to Zumba class with her.

It’s true that admiration and enthusiasm for a thing can lead to gross disillusionment, but I watch a lot of So You Think You Can Dance, so I genuinely felt well-prepared for the task at hand – even when Mrs. Frothy {who, let it be known here,  is super fit} warned me that the class would be difficult.  As a matter of fact, I was certain that I would not only get through the class unscathed - I would also be magnificently good at it.  I imagined the look of bewildered awe on the face of the instructor as she peered through the sea of struggling students and met my gaze {which would be full of insouciant swagger}.  I could just hear the conversation we would have after class, the one in which she would ask me where I received my amazing training – shock registering on her face when I explained that I, in fact, had none prior to her class – upon which time she would demand on the spot that I get Zumba certified and teach a class myself.  That there is incontrovertible evidence abound to suggest otherwise speaks volumes of my stupidity and hubris.  To wit:

1. I don’t know if this is 100% true, but as a child I was made to believe that I was actually asked to leave my ballet lessons owing to my lack of talent.  Or I may have just quit.  Either way, we can be certain of at least on thing – I am not a skilled dancer.

2. One time, during a rough patch with my artwork {and aprapos of nothing} I decided that my true calling in life was to become a professional Street Battle Dance instructor.  I was certain that I would be excellent at this, so when I excitedly called my brother Iago to tell him about my new direction, he remained dead-silent on the other end of the phone.

“What?”  I said.

“Well, you sound excited and I want to be nice, but how do I put this?  You don’t even play Rock Band drums well, not even on the easy setting.”

“ What does that have to do with my becoming a professional Street Battle Dancer?” I asked.

“You need rhythm to play drums . . . even on a toy . . . and you lack it.”

3.  Admittedly, I do have spazzy coordination.  Not fifteen minutes before leaving my house for Zumba class, I involuntarily and unintentionally threw an entire bottle of vitamins down the sink with swift, unexpected and spastic violence.

Let us move on.

So, for the uninitiated, here is what Zumba looks like when it’s done properly.  It’s very fast,  hip-centric and potentially very embarrassing.   Conceding that my inhibitions would have to be checked at the door, I walked into class with a shaky version of confidence, because in my mind I look like this when I dance.  As it happens, years of watching reality television programming about dancers is no substitute for actual dance training.  Class started abruptly to Shakira’s vocal straining and while everyone shook and thrusted and bounced to the beat - I was left looking pathetically lost and a lot like this – only less talented {and without the fast feet sound effects}.  At one point, I think I was just standing completely still in the crowd, desperately trying to figure out what the fuck to do with my body – which had become at least a foot taller and therefore more conspicuous – as my limbs flailed ineffectually about my person.  If I got the footwork right, I was doing something stupid with my arms.  When I got my arms moving properly, I would find myself going in the opposite direction as the rest of the class - and about a beat or two behind them all to boot.  I was a mess.  During one, fleeting moment, I actually felt like I actually HAD IT so I checked in the mirror expecting to see an expression of cool indifference on my face and instead found my countenance to be a mixture of panic and concern – like when a toddler is concentrating really hard on drawing a kitty.

When the class finally concluded, my sweat and shame glands had wrung every last drop of both from my body.  For the better part of an hour I had clumsily executed moves that would make a seasoned stripper blush,  accidentally kneed myself in the boob, nearly knocked down an elderly gentlemen who was OWNING the class and I only refused to do just one thing {it involved shoulders and shaking and boob jiggling and I…just…can’t – I had to draw the line somewhere and that was just too embarrassing}.  Of course, I am totally going back – I am nothing if not completely dedicated to my craft, after all.



3 Responses to “ So I Thought I Could Dance ”

  1. CJ on June 16, 2010 at 9:19 am

    Pancake, my love! Great post and SUPER close to my heart. I feel exactly the same way. I watch SYTYCD with such intensity that nobody is allowed to speak, and I too, believe that just by watching I could probably replicate almost any move if asked to perform on the spot. Loved every word of what you wrote.

    P.S. I was asked to leave ballet class at age seven. The teacher told me I was just “too tall” and should probably try something for tall people. She didn’t specify what. Your post has unveiled the possibility that perhaps I was not indeed “too tall”….at seven. I’m crushed.

  2. Pancake on June 16, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    Charity!! I was totally thinking of you in class – although what I was thinking was, “Charity is such a good dancer, she would be spanking EVERYONE in this class…she is awesome and I just kneed myself in the boob…”

    so, one of two things need to happen immediately – we should have cocktails and watch SYTYCD, OR we should just have cocktails and discuss it!

  3. Sara on June 16, 2010 at 10:20 pm

    Nobody puts Baby in a corner.
    (Ps. I’ve seen you play drums on Rock Band & you, indeed, R.O.C.K.)