Friday, April 23, 2010

I'll Never Be a Ballerina

I took a dance class last night. I'm a terrible dancer. I only know about three dance moves, and when I was younger and tried them out at clubs I caught people glancing at me, then quickly averting their eyes with a grimace, as if they couldn't bear to watch me anymore. But everyone always says that dancing is a good workout, and lately the only pounds I've been losing have been due to anxiety (big surprise there).
(Note: My description is going to be in the present tense, even though technically the class already happened. But it's easier for some reason to just use the present tense.)
I show up early and choose a spot in the back. I look in the mirror and realize that with my hair pulled back in a ponytail, I look like a chubby version of the farm wife in that American Gothic painting. The other girls are all wearing fashionable gym clothes and look like fitness models, whereas I am dressed in baggy shorts and a T-shirt, and I look like those women in the Jenny Craig commercials before they start dieting.
The instructor decides to turn off most of the lights, so that it's very dim in the room, like a nightclub. WTF? Is he going to turn on a fog machine next? Is a bartender suddenly going to show up and start pouring drinks? Is there going to be a group of creepy guys sitting around in a semicircle watching the dancers, and then will one of them venture out to the dance floor and throw his arms around me until I dance away as fast as I can?
No. The instructor turns on the music and starts dancing. He demonstrates the moves, and then everyone else copies him. I say everyone else because I keep falling at least two steps behind. When everyone else's arms move out to the left, mine goes out to the right. Everyone dances so fast that I try to keep up but often end up missing moves. At least I'm not being graded on this.
Then the instructor does this thing where he dances across the floor by himself, and then he has us follow him in pairs. He twirls around the room like a ballet dancer, and everyone else follows, their legs and feet pointed perfectly. I, on the other hand, apparently have grown additional bones or something because my moves are much more stiff and awkward. I get this vision of Frankenstein's monster lumbering across the floor, and hope that everyone else doesn't get that same vision when they see me. When I try twirling around and around like everyone else does I stumble and nearly knock over the girl dancing in front of me. And the guy dancing behind me. I say, "Sorry! Hehe!" about seven times. Then he has us improvise our own moves solo across the floor. NOOOOO!!! Everyone else is really good, and I wonder if anyone will notice if I dance discreetly out the door. But I don't. I twirl and jump across the floor, keeping my eyes shut so that I don't have to see anyone watching me.
All in all, though, the dance class was kind of fun. "Dancer" will never be on my resume, but I'm glad that I tried it. And perfectionist that I am, I'm going to go back to the class next week. Maybe eventually I'll be able to dance without falling down or making anyone else fall down. A girl can dream, right?

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