I’m not sure why I thought I would be able to hold my own in a hip hop dance class. It seemed like a good idea when two of my friends invited me.
“We’re not very good and we’re older than everyone else, but it’s so much fun. The teacher’s great, we’ll be there with you, and if nothing else, it’s a good work out.” They tried hard to convince me.
Truth is, they had me at “we’re not very good” because, honestly, I love to dance. I always have. I realize my year of ballet in fourth grade doesn’t necessarily make me a dancer, but get me on the dance floor at a wedding reception and I’ll dance the heck out of the Macarena. One of Andy’s and my biggest arguments was when he wanted to leave a wedding reception and I wasn’t done gettin’ my groove on. It wasn’t pretty.
Back to hip-hop. I didn’t know what to wear, which is kind of a big deal because real dancers have gear. They have a look. It may be different for each genre of dance, but there’s some definite specific wardrobe pieces required. I had none. I walked in with my too-short yoga pants (actually, I’m not even sure they could be called that), an oversize T-shirt, and tennis shoes (not to be confused with cool, high-top sneakers) just worn out tennis shoes. Thinking back now, I should have taken some scissors to that T-shirt and done a little Flashdance number on it. Hindsight is 20/20.
When my friends told me they were older than everyone else, I forgot to factor in that I am a good 8 years older than them, which made me old enough to be the mother of any one of the extremely coordinated dancers in the room.
“Don’t think about it. This is just for fun. Nobody cares what you look like.” I kept repeating these lines in my head hoping to make myself feel better, but that’s difficult to do when every which way I looked, I kept making eye contact with that lady in the high-water-almost-yoga pants. Those floor to ceiling mirrors are cruel to a 30 something mother of four who just wants to dance it out without having to watch herself look like a complete fool.
I knew I was in trouble when I started huffing and puffing a couple minutes into the warm-up. This was clearly a mistake. I looked at my friends who had huge smiles on their faces. They felt me, but couldn’t really be bothered with how I was doing because they were doing their best to keep up themselves.
After the warm-up, the teenager, I mean teacher, turned on the song we would be dancing to. What’s my name, by Rihanna. This was my first introduction to the song. Love at first listen. I was feeling it. I felt my confidence turn up a notch as my 10 year old tennis shoes tapped the floor. But then the teenager showed us the steps for the first eight counts and I was quickly shut down.
Any notion I might have had of holding my own was obliterated. Each count of eight made me feel more and more uncoordinated and right about the time I thought I might be getting it, it was time to move on to the next sequence.
Don’t worry, no matter how difficult it was, or how many times I tripped over my own feet, I made it. I just never gave up. That’s dedication. I stumbled and laughed my way through to the end. And since I made it through the class without peeing myself, I’d say it was a success.
It’s been said to many young people that you can do or be anything you want to be. I beg to differ. You can try your darnedest, but sometimes you just gotta have some talent. Bottom line. All the confidence in the world couldn’t have made me look good in that dance class. I think I’ll stick to the occasional Macarena.