Dance Classes I Failed At and That Failed Me

I have zero grace. I feel so relieved that my parents didn’t feel inclined to give me that name or it would have been horribly ironic. All the performing talents all went to my sister. On the other hand, I have an amazing genius for being awkward, so in a warped way, there’s balance in our family. It would have just been too much if both sisters had ended up talented in performing. Okay, not really, but it’s the way it is and it has never bothered me.

If you must know though, I did take various dance classes in my youth. Yeah, my performance was consistently lackluster. The following are the dances I learned, what I thought of them, and how I fared in them.

· Folk — In the girls’ school I attended, folk dance was often included in the Phys Ed syllabus. I usually sucked since my movement was always so stiff and unnatural (while I could follow directions, I have very poor coordination, so the resulting execution is quite painful to behold). I’ve chosen to forget everything I ever learned in these classes. Maybe there was some trauma involved, but I don’t care to inspect reasons why I block stuff from my memory, so I don’t know.

· Ballroom — Since I had to dance with a partner, I was slightly less of a disaster here. My partners could lead away all they wanted and I followed. My movements have never been fluid in my life, so you can expect that to have held true for this class as well. Nonetheless, I found this class really enjoyable. I learned how to boogie, cha-cha, waltz, and swing. I still know the basic steps, but I don’t go dancing anyway, so the knowledge is not being put to use at all. I’d love for my kids to learn these dances, but I don’t want to teach them myself for fear of imparting bad form.

· Jazz — I think learning this made me more limber because of all the stretching, but I mainly enjoyed it for all the French terms I picked up. I still retain some knowledge, but for some reason, it mostly comes in handy when talking to gay friends. I know it’s stereotyping, but I can’t find any opportunity to inject the term “pas de bourree” in conversations with other people — only with them.

· Tap — I was actually very interested in learning this. I bought special shoes and had a rad time scuffing up my taps so that I didn’t slip and slide when wearing them. I did okay at first, and then when we got past the basics, it just got too ridiculously hard (for me anyway), so I ended up rage-quitting one class and never went back.

So many dance lessons, so little grace. I don’t expect to ever develop any fancy moves, but I am thinking that taking up ballroom dancing again would be a good way to exercise and socialize. That’s fair warning, folks. I may be donning a pair of dancing shoes yet again.

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