The Bumbling Beginner

Dear Reader,

There are two types of people in this world, the specialists and the generalists. I am wholly in the latter category of people. I like to dabble. I pick up hobbies and drop them like the act is a hobby in itself. Kids are encouraged to try new things and they have access to beginner’s classes galore. However, as adults, many of us seem to just stick to what we’re good at. But I love trying new things! And, that’s how I got in over my head in this adult dance class.

Do you like to dance, dear Reader? I do! When I was kid, I took lessons for many years. While my childhood movements were clumsy and I did not have a good mind to retain the dance sequences, I did build up a strong repetoire of basic dance moves. I stopped dancing in middle school but continued somewhat through musical theater training in my teenage years. My high school graduation marked the end of any formal dance classes, but not my love for the activity did not die.

Signing up for dance classes as an adult beginner is a little challenging. Balancing work/ school schedules with dance can mean classes that extend into the night. Additionally, with the pandemic, in-person studio classes are small, few and far between. Through many a Google search, I was able to find a drop-in modern dance class that meets on the weekends. It wouldn’t have been my first choice of classes, but I wasn’t in a position to be choosy. I signed up for the 90-minute class meant for all levels, paid via Venmo, and showed up on the morning of the class.

As a new student, I had to sign up with the front desk and I received a membership card even though I only committed to attending one class. I climbed up the winding wooden staircase to the very top floor to studio six. The room was large and filled with light from the clear autumn sky. Without guidance, I placed my items on a bench in a corner, removed my shoes and sat on one of the spots marked on the floor (all were compliant with social distancing). There were about 14 of us in the room and the students comprised many 20 to 30-something year-old women, two guys in that same age bracket, an agile middle-aged woman, and spritely male senior citizen. The instructor walked right over to me and introduced herself. Even though this is advertised online as a drop-in class, I turned out to be the only new student.

The class started with a bang. The sound of African drumming filled the room as we were led through stretches. Although this class was meant for all levels and welcoming of newcomers, it was immediately obvious that the students had been well familiar with the dance warmups and the sequences practiced. Luckily, I am familiar with the terminology and could plié, tendu, pas de bourré, and relevé when asked, however, when the instructor wove moves together, I was very clearly lost. The pacing was somewhat quick, the instructor spoke as if she were only reviewing the sequences rather than teaching them, and very rarely did anyone raise their hand to ask a question. The class was hard, everyone was nice, but the class was NOT beginner friendly. This was a full body workout and learning the movements was a mental strain. Despite the challenge, the experience was invigorating. Although I wanted to walk out at a few different instances, now, siting at home, writing to you, I’m glad I stuck it out. I want to be able to keep up and enjoy dancing rather than just struggle and muddle my way through it. I’ll sign up for another class. Maybe not for the same exact style, but I don’t want this bumbling dance experience to be my last!

Happy dancing 🙂

Love,

Raven

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