I got up wayyyy too early today for a Sunday…
I work Monday through Saturday, and many Sundays throughout the year, for performances, competitions, costume shows, meetings, and dance workshops. Oh, and also for some camp events, here and there. Sunday is my only real “day off”, so it’s a rough one after a long week.
I was registered for a dance workshop today, not realizing that my team was not required to go. However, I’m a member teacher, so, I attend. Years ago, I went solo, once a year, but it’s been a long time since. When my team is there, I do get to dance, most of the time, but I’m responsible for them, get there earlier for them, settle them in, get them to classes, check on them, care for them, and then hang around until each is picked up by a family member. It’s a whole different day than going it alone.
But, I didn’t really want to go, especially once I knew I didn’t have to….
I also had made plans to meet a friend from the area thereafter, having not seen her in months. I figured, I’d add some fun to an adult responsibility.
…But I really, REALLY didn’t want to go…didn’t want to get up early, get dressed, prep snacks, drive out of town in the rain, struggle to find parking, move through the crowds at the hotel, stretch, and then pretend to be enthusiastic about moving my body. Especially when I didn’t have to be an example for anybody. I could’ve hit snooze, ignored the whole thing, cancelled my plans for thereafter, and just gone back to sleep, and I truly contemplated doing just that…but I didn’t. I drove the whole way, wipers on, annoyed at my decision, and annoyed that I was being responsible.
I got there on time, made my way to the teachers’ room, which was FREEZING, by the way, put on my t-strap character shoes, barely stretched, and then succumbed to the inevitable. In walks the spunkiest girl, all 5 foot, 10 inches of her, with red jazz shoes and hot pink, long braids, and I’m thinking, Oyy, I am SO not ready for this.
She asks us to join her on the floor, assures us that she will torture us, which gets mixed responses, and then counts us off as 1s or 2s. Now, I know this is a precision class…it’s pretty much why I’ve come…I adore precision, teach it, and find it amazing to create interesting formations, with no variation of the moves on every individual in the choreography, no matter how many dancers there are. It’s what drove me to dance. Yes, I loved ballet as a child, but knew it was the foundation for everything else, and vowed after going to Radio City Music Hall, to work my way there.
Well, I’m 4 foot, 11 or so inches (yes, my license says 5 feet), so, ummm, no…that wasn’t going to happen. I did dance on a junior Rockette line, but that’s a whole other blogpost. And yes, musical theatre was my next option…and yes, another blogpost, at another time. So, there I am, in the middle of the line, knowing that us shorties get placed on the end because of the drawing of the eye to the center, and the appearance of height, Blah, blah, blah…so I ask…”um, clearly I’m the shortest one in the room, so, do you want me on an end?” And she smiles, and says, “I put my weakest dancers at the end, give or take height, but if you can keep up, you’re welcome to stay there.”
I’m a “2” , so I look to the “1” at my left, who looks pretty friendly, and is less than 5’8″, and then the “1” on my right, who looks about 5’6″, but ready to let me go, and I decide to stay. I know, very well, that we short girls do the most traveling on stage from the ends, so I figure, I’ll have to hustle less, and if she wants to move me, she will, and so I settle in.
Then the conversation begins with her giving a little background, and she’s a FLIPPIN’ head rockette, who teaches their intensive program, where I’ve sent my students to audition for and have had friends picked up for the line! She warms us up…very, very similar to my warm up, and then gets right to work. In no time, I’m sweating…I mean REALLY sweating. Actually, dripping down my back. There’s not a second to think about where else I can be, and I marvel at my luck, having been unable to attend the Rockette experience with my team, merely weeks ago. This is even better. Close up. Personal. And now, she’s a colleague. And I keep up…kicks and all. I know the series they use, the height, etc., and their style, and I just go for it. I’ve spent so long doubting myself at these kind of things, and more so lately, but I have nothing to lose. In fact, I can contribute, but don’t need to. I have no responsibility, except to the audience watching, and the 1s on my left and my right. It’s like years ago, when I was performing, and I realize, right then and there, how much I’ve missed it. I mean, really missed it. When did that moment happen when I started doubting my performance skills? I know when it evolved, in a theatre department chock full of talent, and some not so supportive professors, but I don’t know when it started. I remember dancing because I loved to dance, but not when that began to change.
Now, I’m caught up in the moment; if only height had been on my side…well, at the end of my torso, and at the bottom of my legs, but, you get the idea.
We finish, and we look good–really good. She’s very enthusiastic and grateful, explaining that she feared we’d all sit around and take notes, and not dance. She’s relieved to have had a group who really gave their all. We’re all flushed, tired, and sweaty, but we’re all beaming and talking about how much fun it was. I go to thank her, and she takes my email to send me the video, which I’m really appreciative of.
Having truly enjoyed that, I’m glad I did come, and with several more classes to go, I’m feeling pretty fulfilled.
But then, that ain’t nothing!
Later on, we put on even higher heeled shoes for a stiletto heels class, and I’m thinking….. “This really can’t be right; were going to just learn a bit of that style, but in flat shoes, and then talk about the trend in the industry…”
But nooooo…that’s not what happens at all. I know the instructor. I’ve taken her classes once or twice before, but they were commercial jazz. I like her. She’s fun.
But it’s been years.
I could not be more wrong. What follows, is an hour of strutting, booty shaking, seductive improvising, and a lot of body rolling….in heels.
At one point she mentions a need to be a little more subtle, and “leave them wanting more with a tease”. It takes me a minute to realize that correction is for me.
(I mean, #seriously) and the others applaud and giggle. I’m pretty modest in my dancing, amongst other things, and I’m a bit surprised at myself. I mean, is it the shoes?! Have I found a whole new freedom in this never before, explored by me, genre?! Or is it just me…changed in some way, with less of a load to bear, finding a new internal drive? I’m really not sure what it is, but I like it; I’m enjoying myself, and, more than anything now, I’m SO happy I’ve come today.
We run it a few times, even splitting into groups and I become very comfortable with it…surprise! But the kicker is when everyone is leaving, and a few of the other teachers ask me to do it with a few others so that they can record it. I’m stunned!
And I do it again, and it’s still comfy, and still fun. I’m drenched in sweat (again) and I’m pretty sure I need to keep heels on for the rest of my life. Oddly enough, I’m wearing lip stick more often in the last couple of months…coincidence?
Does it really only take a couple of props to play the part and BE the characters?!
Where have I been all this time! First face cream, and now this?!
Look out DSW, I’m coming for some really high heels! REALLY, REALLY high heels!