Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Back To Beginner Lessons

Because Valentine's Day fell on a Tuesday and Eddie and I were continuing our new tradition of makin' waffles (wherein makin' waffles is not a euphemism for anything and means literally the act of making waffles on the waffle iron), I could not go to regular dance class. That means I was on my own as a visitor to Wednesday night's class, the beginner class.

I arrived a few minutes before 8 and already they were dancing and Holy Friggin Moly, the class was huge. HUUUUGE! I found a place in the back corner on the side of the room where I haven't been dancing and jumped into the steps. Jean teaches steps first before teaching whole dances in the beginners class, so I grapevined and stepped-and-pointed a whole bunch of times, gearing up for the night's dances.

Guess who was at the class--Can't Dance Man and his wife who couldn't make it on Wednesdays! I guess they decided they should make time to make it. I stayed away from them so I could avoid her perfume and watchful eye. After noticing them, Jean caught my eye and we smiled at each other before she went on to teach how to walk forward and back four times each way. Oooooh, Jean and I had a moment!

As she taught the steps, the room got even more crowded. Two women showed up and went to where S and I danced last week in the back corner and were greeted by four other women very loudly with a lot of laughter. The nice thing about a big class is the cameraderie. The two women had rhythm and when they danced, they seemed to be having fun, something also missing from our intermediate class. The women who greeted them were okay dancers who were kind of having fun.

I was having a blast, having a party all on my own in the back when Jean announced we'd be dancing Ah Si. Ah Si! I remembered it as if I'd danced it every day since I'd learned it. I missed Ah Si! It's a simple dance but it got me breathless because it's a lot of movement. That's the thing about beginner dances--they have only a few steps so you move constantly and quickly. The intermediate dances have more steps before you begin again.

Next we did a dance that has the word swing in the title but I like to call it the Lay an Egg dance because for one of the steps, Jean instructs, Now lay an egg! S and I learned it at St. Cath's and hadn't done it since. It's a one-wall dance, very simple. The oldish man who'd moved in front of me to see was complaining to himself, Now what does she mean by a one wall dance? I thought about answering him, but decided, no--he must be new to Jean's style of teaching and he has to get used to it on his own if he's ever going to succeed. Jean's style of teaching includes telling you information on a need-to-know basis, and even if you think you need to know something, you probably don't.

After that, Jean said we were going to learn September. I was over the moon thrilled! First of all, that song is one of the best songs in the world. Second of all, S and I love love love that dance. So Jean taught the pieces of it and everyone followed with intensity. Two parts include a hitch and backwards walk, and that's what separates the good dancers from the dancers-who-need-work. The woman who had come in late and stood next to me stopped to grab a pen and paper to write down what was happening and she was getting pretty lost so as she wrote and look confused I said to her, Walk three and hitch--it's easier if you jump a little to turn. Then I demonstrated.

She said, You're good. I said, I know this dance, so it's not like I just learned it. She said, Oh okay, and gave me a genuine smile, part relief part thanks. I said, it gets easier with the music. She said, The music messes me up. I thought to myself, but dancing without music is weird, but I did not say that out loud. Instead I said, you'll get it after a few times.

Jean put the music on and everyone went crazy, especially the two women with rhythm, because they love the song. See? It's a good song. It all fell into place for a lot of people. It all fell apart for a lot of others. It was fun, none the less.

When Jean went to put it on a second time, the other song you can dance it to--Love Master of The World (not the right title but what I like to call it)--came on and I got very excited, thinking we were gonna dance to it, but we didn't. She went back to September, I think because she thought everyone would get confused. With a class that size, you have to keep it simple. Safety first!

During the break, three women were chatting about possibly going into the intermediate class. I said to them, I'm actually in that class and it's fun. They asked a bunch of questions--how is it different? what's the size? did I like it? I told them that we learn dances with more counts and it's much smaller than this colossal class. They told me that I was a good dancer and they were happy I was in the back because when they turned, they watched me to know what they were doing. I'm thinking of going to the beginner class every week to get an ego boost. One of them asked if I was coming back next week. I said no, that I was there only because I couldn't make Tuesday's class. One of the women said she wanted me to come back so she could stand next to me next week. Awww, ego on overdrive.

We moved onto Moves Like Jagger. I remembered doing it at Jones Beach, but the moves Jean was teaching were different from the ones at the beach. They were a little less complicated than the version from the summer, and I found myself attempting to move one way when my legs and arms were attempting something else. Muscle memory can be an asset as well as a curse sometimes.

The same goes for what Jean called Lazy Day, which is what the woman from the beach called The Lazy Dance, which is to The Lazy Song, so I guess it's all correct. The beach included some quick cross steps and a walk around yourself. Here we did step to the side and a box step, both easier.

Then we did a few of the dances one more time and ended at a little before 9:30 but Jean stretched out talking a little so that we made it to exactly 9:30. So we all packed up into our coats and the class started to empty out. I went over to Jean, waited for her to end her conversation, and thanked her for letting me come. I was like, You have such a big class. She was like, See what did I tell you? I was like, I enjoyed it, though, because I miss some of those dances. She told me that my class learned ChaCha Espanola or something like that, and I assured her that whatever it was, I'd have to learn it next week. She said she was sure I'd pick it up.

Moral of the story: If you don't challenge yourself and you do things that already come easy to you, you get compliments. Yeay!

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