In a recent post I mentioned going to a dance class called the Bey Dance Workshop during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. It was part of my foray back into the world of dance, along with my stint in the Commonwealth Games as a dance cast member. Getting back into dance has brought up a few things in my mind, but let me tell you the story…
Booking a dance class is a magical moment for me. When I click online on ‘purchase’ I immediately start thinking up Beyonce choreographies, or picturing myself as the golden student in a scene like this one. While growing up I’d been told I had a knack for dance, and I did a lot of it at school and took lots of classes as a kid. So I have a latent impression that I can hold my own on a dance floor. But in reality, it’s just not true. My world was put straight when I went to a ‘proper’ dance class last week.
It was a weekend afternoon class, and those are the best because you can have a lie in, have some brunch, then spend the rest of the morning plotting your most dancerly out fit. This is (guiltily) my favourite part. I put on some tunes, and release my inner 80s child. I settle on patterned leggings, short shorts, a bright sports bra (essential), with a vest over it. I then fling myself around my living room for a while and feel real good about myself.
Walking over to class I get met with a few funny looks. But it’s mainly because I am thick of the thigh, and really shouldn’t be wearing shorts and leggings. But I choose to believe I rock it like a dancehall superstar, rather than a sweaty wannabe with the shorts riding up her inner thighs.
I arrive at the dance class, and it’s all pretty safe at first. Totally feel the part while walking up the sunny stairs, and greeting the deliriously happy and fit receptionist. At the top of the stairs it all falls to pieces. Lithe and limber young things drape themselves along the corners and walls. And eyeball you mercilessly. We all wait in awkward false patience for the current class to finish, and then walk into the foul smelling damp room. And I realise why my previous classes were so successful, lack of mirrors. This class is fully walled with mirrors.
The instructor bounds into the room, and she must have had way more time sorting out her dancerly outfit, she looks like a backing dancer in a Rihanna video. But that’s her role, to give us something to aspire to. We launch into a really fast paced class, where we move on to the next section before I’ve grasped the previous – there’s another myth busted, I always thought I was really quick on the uptake of choreography. And these wispy dancers are body rolling and locking there way through the whole routine as if they’ve known it their whole lives. There is the difference. I was now sitting at a different table, no longer was I top dog at the kiddie table, but an embarrassment at the top table.
Anyway, to cut a long story short(er), I stumble and sweat my way through the routine, steadily retreating more and more inwards. And this culminates with a ‘performance time’, where we get split into small groups and dance the routine in front of the rest of the class. I resentfully mark the moves, grab my bag and run home. Back to my familiar living room dancer fantasy.