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posted by [personal profile] sigelphoenix at 09:49pm on 09/11/2011 under
I've always wanted to learn how to dance. I've made a go at learning a couple of times - in elementary school, my parents put my sister and me in traditional Chinese dance lessons for a couple of months; in high school, I took a west coast swing class; and in college, I went to lindy hop lessons given by a campus club. But I was just dabbling - I never thought I could actually get good, because I never thought of myself as a "dancer." I just assumed that "dancers" were people who'd taken ballet/jazz/etc. since the age of 6, and would forever and always be dancers, and the rest of us just weren't. I certainly wished I could be, but I was too sure that my age/clumsiness/introversion/inability to wiggle my hips meant that I shouldn't try now. And one thing I've always been good at is talking myself out of things, especially when it comes to convincing myself why I should try something new.

In possibly one of the cheesiest and most prosaic stories of inspiration ever, I started reconsidering my attitude when I began watching Dancing With the Stars. Here I was reminded of the grace and glamour that originally impressed me about dancing, all with high-budget glitz and a good bit of reality TV drama besides. And on top of that, the premise is that non-dancing celebrities get intense, one-on-one training in order to become dancers - celebrities who are already adults, usually have little or no dance experience, and often learn to become elegant and sexy dancers (or at least pull off some elegant and sexy performances).

So that's when I started thinking about it, but like I said, I'm good at talking myself out of things, so I sat on that feeling (and just fed it bits of wistful self-doubt) for two years. But last month, I started taking some classes through the University's community course offerings. And I am still doubting myself and/or feeling terror at my lack of talent at times, but I'm doing it anyway.

(I feel like part of my motivation is the approaching three oh - I'm 27 in a month, and I want to take advantage of my youth before my body starts to feel the creaks and cracks of age. And it's not like I won't be able to do anything after I turn 30 - I realize I sound a little silly, and I think it's the right of anyone of a certain age to laugh at someone younger who is facing a _____life crisis. But, it is true that getting older does not make physical activities any easier. Even if I'm not as flexible and energetic as I was at 10 or 15 years old, I want to focus on what I can still do. I don't want to focus so much on how I "wasted" my adolescence that I hit 30 and then wonder why I wasted my 20s.)

I signed up for two classes in October, the first being waltz. And I loved the waltz. It was so easy! Of course, I'm only speaking of the basics, and I know it can get quite intricate and difficult, but I loved the fact that the basic level felt easy and natural to me. I like a good frame, I like having a reliable step pattern. And with a good lead (i.e. the instructor) I could quickly try new moves and they immediately made sense. I think this is a dance that, if/when I feel brave enough to go to a social dance, I could dance fairly comfortably with more advanced partners, as long as they lead well.

And yet, this is apparently not a popular dance. Probably because it isn't as sexy as other ballroom dances. So there were only three people in my class, and I was the only follow, so in many ways it was like private lessons. I know this isn't great for the instructor because she got paid less, but I did enjoy it for my own sake - we moved faster than we would've with a larger class, and got closer instruction.

The second class I tried was Argentine tango. Mostly, I signed up for that because it was scheduled right after waltz, with the same teacher. If I'd actually looked carefully at the dance, I might have thought better of it. :P Argentine tango looks good (and is one of my favorite dances to watch on DWTS). But the lack of a basic step and emphasis on improvisation ... eep. It's hard. So hard, in fact, that my instructor recommended that we re-take the course rather than moving on to the intermediate one (not that a 4-week class could really make you an intermediate dancer of anything, I think). So I'm re-taking it this month.

I'm also taking beginning salsa with my sister. We'll see if we can get our hips to move! XD
There are 10 comments on this entry. (Reply.)
rivendellrose: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] rivendellrose at 04:12pm on 10/11/2011
Awwwwwwwwww, I love waltz! It is hard to find classes of it with enough people, but it's such a gorgeous and fun dance. If you want company for anything waltzy, do let me know!

And I am in awe of your attempting tango. I am afraid of tango. You'll have to keep me updated on how it goes. XD
sigelphoenix: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] sigelphoenix at 05:55pm on 10/11/2011
My instructor recommended Washington Dance Club, which does have waltz lessons sometimes (they rotate which one they do each month). I'm keeping an eye on their schedule, so if you want to try their waltz class, I can definitely let you know. Otherwise, I'll call you when I get brave enough to go to an open dance. XD

Argentine tango ... isn't terrible. ^_^;; I mean, it's hard, yeah, but I actually did feel a couple of things click by the end of the first month. And this class has a very welcoming atmosphere, because the instructor is encouraging and all the students are at varying levels. So despite my fear of failure, I actually don't feel super intimidated to be in class. Whether I'll keep studying it after this month, we'll see. If I'm not feeling any improvement, I'll probably cut my losses and try a different style.
posted by [personal profile] augustphoenix at 04:21pm on 10/11/2011
Eee! This is cool!
sigelphoenix: (excited sokka)
posted by [personal profile] sigelphoenix at 05:32pm on 10/11/2011

posted by [personal profile] royalarchivist at 04:29pm on 10/11/2011
Coolness! I'm glad you're having fun with it!! :)

sigelphoenix: (excited sokka)
posted by [personal profile] sigelphoenix at 05:27pm on 10/11/2011
Thank you! :D
posted by [identity profile] at 06:50am on 11/11/2011
Ooh, I like the ballroom rumba. It's similar to waltz, but not as stiff since it requires more hip movements. :)

Ultimately, the best way to get really good at these dances is to join a dance team and perform. I missed the deadline for a local dance team here in Sac, but I hope to join one when I'm up in Washington. You should do it with me! :)
sigelphoenix: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] sigelphoenix at 10:24pm on 11/11/2011
Are these dance teams for ballroom dancing? I'm primarily interested in learning ballroom/Latin dancing, though I do think other styles would be helpful for increasing my skill (I'm planning to take an intro modern/ballet class next month).
posted by [identity profile] at 10:30pm on 11/11/2011
Yup, they're teams for ballroom dancing. I'm not sure if other dance teams do it the same way, but generally you join at a certain point in the year, and based on your time, skill, and preference, you'll take on a few routines. My friend's doing salsa, rumba, and waltz in this year's show. He's improved a LOT since we took beginning ballroom together, lol.
sigelphoenix: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] sigelphoenix at 10:53pm on 11/11/2011
That sounds really fun! I'd be happy to try one out with you.


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