As a child I loved dancing. I used to sing and dance and prance around (alongside David Bowie to both dancing in the street and the labyrinth). I would shake my booty and get down at every opportunity. I attended Jazz ballet (like every 80s female child), gymnastics (at which I sucked horrendously) and danced at primary school. I was much taller than all the other girls but that didn’t bother me when I got out on the stage. I would twirl in neon coloured outfits, my belly, bum and thighs not a concern. I got chosen to dance on stage from the audience at a Westfield, offered a scholarship to a dance school (which mum turned down due to the proximity of the school to my house).
As I grew up I didn’t continue with dance, however, I still loved to dance with my friends in our lounge rooms, in my car, at school, anywhere really. Although a bigger child than most it never hindered me. I danced alongside to my friends to the spice girls to choreographed steps.
When I turned 18 my friends and I hit the dance floor. We didn’t even need alcohol – we would just dance the night away.
Now as a 26 year old, I decided to start some dance classes. I needed a good reason to exercise (other than my expanding waistline). A place where I could enjoy exercising or rekindle my old high heart rate flame. I used to do aerobics at the gym and I love jumping around to the music but since I hurt my back it was advised against. So dance it is.
I dragged my best friend along to hip hop classes. Our teacher is so awesome. He dances like he is liquid, his body just flows – he keeps telling us to give it flavour. If flavour is what makes a good dancer, he is Aria 3 hat style dancing, and I am the hole in the wall kebab shop where people are a little worried to eat at.
Anyway. The dance classes start off with a few simple steps facing the mirror. Then we start choreography, ‘left and right, and front and back. Now pump, and roll and left and right – no left and right! Not right and the other right!’ At first it was a little confusing. Especially since the only other dance class I took was about 3 years ago and the warm up was so intense that when we started choreography I thought the class was finished. That class left me giggling nervously - a lot. A big, strong, lean African man was up the front drop, rock and rolling his body from side to side. I was just trying to avoid getting hit by lithe ballerinas as they attempted to hip hop around me.
This class is different. I think there is more emphasis on getting the moves right. Vincent is patient and wonderful really. And you can speak to yourself out loud without looking crazy, because it is encouraged – if you say it out loud your body will follow.
This Sunday saw me taking a thriller workshop after 2 dance classes (happy birthday and RIP MJ). We showed up a little late but picked up the first moves pretty quickly. Kaylene our teacher was amazing. She had us all yelling out the moves so we would remember them, and giving them funny names like clawy move, pump it move and the Egyptian. She also emphasised the importance of confidence in dancing. She told us it was important that you just throw your worries to one side. Who cares if you stuff a move, keep going. If you stop you cannot pick it up again because your brain freezes, whereas if you keep moving you have a better chance of picking up the next one.
At the end we split into two groups and danced – no one cared if there was a small collision or if I ran out of room, headed into the wall and then did the animal move the wrong way. Because everyone was having fun, and concentrating on what they were doing rather than what was going on around them.
As Kaylene says, attack dancing like martial arts. Throw yourself into it. Have fun. It is actually a good life message I think – stop worrying about what others think and just keep going. You are bettering yourself and that is the main thing. Avoid brain freezes!
Now I’m thinking about starting bike riding, rollerblading and horse riding because they were things I loved as a child. Soccer and netball when I get a little more fit – except my knees and ankles aren’t what they used to be (10 years of netball will do that to you).
So what were your favourite childhood things? Can you see yourself picking it up now?
Lady B xox