Most of my friends are dancers. They attend dance classes regularly, they’ve danced since they were small, they talk about the latest dance productions on stage and, embarrassingly, they tend to discuss and perform their latest routines in public (much to my groans and rolling eyes!).
Me, I like to get my dance on in da club, ya know what I’m sayin’? I like to hear the groove and let my body do it’s thang, whatever that thang may be. It’s usually just a bunch of gyrating moves and chest pumping in an attempt to mirror the latest Beyonce clip. I think I do alright in the old shaking of the boo-tay department so I enlisted my friend (and trainer) to join me at a beginners Hip Hop class.
Now. I’ve always avoided dance classes like the plague as I have a very serious medical condition which is sometimes referred to as “two left feet”. It’s almost impossible for me to watch someone perform a move and then attempt it myself without getting my legs tangled up and ending up in a heap on the floor. I once attended a body combat class and left 5 minutes in because I was so frustrated that I could not kick and punch at the same time. Admittedly, I could have punched and kicked the instructor in the face if I really mustered up the coordination to do so…
But, as those of you who know me would know, I love hip hop and to be able to dance like I see in my favourite hip hop videos would be the ultimate win. So I put my coordination (or lack thereof) to the test and had my first class last night.
Walking in the room I see a bunch of mid to late 20’s girls, 2 guys (one decked out in a feeble attempt at hip hop gear, ugly red and green hi tops to match, the other lanky and awkward looking) and the wonderful Ilona who could make sitting on the toilet look like the latest hip hop dance move.
We start by warming up. It is instantly obvious that these guys have been attending the class for at least a couple of weeks because they are side stepping and hip swivelling like, well people who have been attending a beginners class for a few weeks. Ilona just expects everyone to be up to date with these basic warm up moves and I look at my friend with panic, “Is this really the beginners class?! Quick! Let’s go! Before they start a break dance barricade around us and we’re trapped!”. Finally, the embarrassment of the warm up ends. We did manage to laugh at our ridiculousness though and also the ridiculousness of the white Busta Rhymes in front of us.
Then Ilona takes us through a stretch routine. This is more my style. Stretching, I can do. I’m feeling a little more confident at this stage and I’m stretching like a pro. Woo. Yeah. Getting my stretch on.
Right. Stretch time over and we are ready to learn our routine. Panic once again sets in as I realise I’m going to have to copy her moves all the while watching my awkwardness in a humongous mirror. I guess the positive thing is that you’re so busy watching yourself and Ilona (and the douche bag in front) that you don’t notice if anyone is laughing at you. Bonus. What I can’t see, didn’t happen. Yes?
She takes us through the routine slowly. It is only now that I realise that everyone is still quite new to this, thank god, as she takes us all through the routine step by step and movement by movement. She shows us firstly the leg movements and then the arm movements to match. I start to feel like I am getting the hang of it! I still look like a total moron, but at least I am following what she says! WIN.
I’ve got the first part down-pat and we perform it to music a few times. I’ve worked up quite a sweat by this stage which is satisfying. I love a good sweat (mine only, the sweat of others makes me want to barf).
Now we embark on the second half of the routine. Things start to fall apart now and I can’t seem to keep up with all the arm pumping and booty popping that’s going on but I got the basics down so I was pretty pleased with that. Then we piece it all together and perform to music several times. Some times I get it right, some times I get it oh so wrong. But hey, it was my first time and I reckon, give me 2 or 3 weeks, and I’m totally going to be Beyonce. It’s happening. Oh, IT IS happening.
So an hour, and many frustrated facial expressions later (and several hundred calories!), my first hip hop dance class is over. And I am pleased to say that I can’t wait for the next. 🙂