Sunday, September 6, 2009

Speaking of Dance

Dancing, as it is equal parts celebration and perspiration, is the one form of exercise that I never tire of. Yes, I turn into a sweaty ball of exhilarated exhaustion quickly, but rather than being tedious or boring, the process is pure fun. The best part is that I have to train my mind and body to coordinate in a new way in order to experience the sheer pleasure such synchronized movement to music offers.

Slowly, but consistently I’ve added to my dance style repertoire. Not that I actually ever go dancing anymore except for the occasional evening of swing, or other ballroom styles (and I do mean occasional), but I still love to learn new forms and dance at home. Instead of causing potential embarrassment to my children, so far, they’ve been dancing right along with me! It feels good to master even the simplest new choreography and add it to our spontaneously erupted, Tuesday-night-before-dinner, crank-the-music, free-for-all, flash dance parties.

A few years ago I took up belly dancing. Why the hell not? The undulating snake arms, swivelly figure eights, and body rolls are physically challenging, sexy, and fun. But even all that sensual movement plays second fiddle to the dazzling effect of the coin scarf you’re sporting well below your waist. Making that jingly rhythmic sound with my hips is about as about as satisfying to me as the tap-tap-tap of my high-heeled purposeful stride on commercial-grade linoleum. And that’s saying something.

After learning belly dancing from a fabulous older woman, I bought a tape to practice at home with Jillina! My older daughter was teaching me how to camel within ten minutes. (At thirteen? Whippersnapper.) I don’t practice belly dancing anymore, but sometimes, when no one else is home, I wrap the purple velvet scarf around my hips and shimmy for all I’m worth.

It was a natural transition from belly dancing to Bollywood style dancing. This was a particularly good fit for us (my teenage daughter and I took the class together with some friends of mine) because we love the movies Lagaan (a four hour Bollywood extravaganza), Bride and Prejudice (with the worst take on Mr. Darcy ever – it should have been played by Naveen Andrews - yum), and Bend it Like Beckham (which, if you haven’t seen, you should). The dancing in these movies is an audio-visual feast of pure delight. The Bollywood dance class, taught by an Indian woman who was a classically trained Indian dancer, was fun but had the serious drawback of not having enough room.

Dance, as a physical expression of celebrating the joy of life, needs lots of room!

Then, of course, there is my recent and well-documented failure to master tap. Oy. It’s much, much harder than it appears and really that’s all I’m going say about that. Except this: I will master the time steps this year and once I do, I expect to experience the happiness seemingly inherent in tap dancing rather than the frustration with my inability to complete the steps correctly. Again with the ‘oy’.

In the meantime, I’m considering burlesque. Really. It has recently come to my attention that there is an upswing in the popularity of burlesque-style dancing. What is it, you ask? That is an excellent question and one to which I had to look up the answer. And when I found it, I decided that I’m not interested in burlesque at all, but rather the skills involved in striptease, the cornerstone of New Burlesque.

There are classes popping up everywhere and I’m currently looking for a few fun female friends with whom to share the drive into Boston and what I’m sure would be the hilarious awkwardness of learning to take off your clothes in a choreographed manner complete with lights, stage, and costumes all in a group setting. With sessions entitled “All About Boas” and “Glove Removal” how can you go wrong? Then, armed with those new skills, I plan to take it on the road: the road home to take it off in private. (Ooh. Flashes of J.Geils Band, anyone?) It’s entirely possible that I would require such complete privacy as to end up totally alone while doing this particular dance. Still, it would be fun to find out.

This seems so far out of my comfort zone that I’m looking forward to the challenge. Bonus: I’m certain this one would cause embarrassment to my children; alas, it is not to share with them. I don’t know if this new interest is spurred on by my recent weight loss, health improvements, or impending 45th birthday, but I do know that this is my life and I plan to enjoy the hell out of it. If I can give a little back (or leg) to my husband while enjoying a new form of dance, so much the better.

Remember: whatever form it takes, you should be dancing.


Stephen Bourque said...

Brava! ;)

LB said...

I can assure you, your use of winky emoticons will not hasten my efforts. In fact, it may have the opposite effect.