Do you hear that sound of shattering glass off in the distance? In case you’re wondering, that’s the sound of my dancing ambitions once again being crushed by the cruel, cruel sledgehammer of reality and whatever the word is for the opposite of grace.
Am I over-dramatizing? Maybe a touch. I’m not actually weeping into my cereal or anything. My dancing ambitions are hardly something I have worked to fulfill. But I have watched a lot of cheesy dance movies and even the odd ballet, and during those times have thought that it would be nice to be able to dance really well. I don’t want to be a pro or anything. I just think it would be a fun thing to be good at. Or even just good enough to not feel ridiculous doing it in front of other people. (I’m told that the fact that I don’t drink may well be a large part of my problem there though.)
So every now and then I sign up for a beginners’ dance class in something or another, hoping that something will sink into my muscle memory. Sadly, it would seem not.
My most recent foray into the dance world is a hip hop class that I started last night and that will continue on a weekly basis for the next six weeks. Why hip hop? To be honest, it wouldn’t be my first choice, but there was a promotion on, so I thought what the heck. Actually, the promotion gave a choice of hip hop or pussycat dolls dancing, but I figured if I can barely walk in heels, trying to dance in them while channelling my non-existent inner sex kitten might be courting disaster. The idea is also just too embarrassing to fathom.
I got there early. The class before was finishing up and they were amazing. Having no idea what hip hop dance actually looked like, I was impressed, a little inspired, and a lot intimidated. I decided to believe they were an advanced class. (Thankfully they were.)
With me and dancing, the issue isn’t rhythm. I can find the beat, and hip hop is good for that anyway, as it usually has a pretty solid beat. The issues are that 1) I move as though I had a steel pole strapped to my spine, and 2) I’m always sure everyone is watching me and laughing. Both of these, it would appear, are extreme liabilities when it comes to dancing in general and hip hop dancing in particular, especially hip hop dancing in front of a mirror where I am the one watching and laughing.
Because the moves felt ridiculous, even done by the instructor, who could do them well. Ridiculous in a “pretty fly for a white guy” kind of way. That’s right. Added to my usual issues of awkwardness and self-consciousness was the dawning realization that this smacked of lame poserishness. (Made that word up just now. Like it?) I grew up in a very white suburb and knew several middle class white guys who thought they were black guys from the ghetto. I thought they were idiots. Was doing this making me one of them? After much thought, I decided no. Imitation is the greatest form of flattery and I’m willing to try imitating anyone who can dance.
Obviously my performance was a shambles. I don’t think I need to go into details. Fortunately, I have left my clubbing days behind me (all two months of them, back in 1999) and will not be required to perform any of this in front of anyone who is not doing the same thing. My dignity will remain intact and I plan to just have fun goofing around in front of a mirror.
What happens in the dance studio stays in the dance studio.