Back to Dance Class

This week, I went to both of my dance classes. Tuesday was my first dance class in almost a month. After a week and a half of being out due to an injured ankle and another two weeks of break between the Spring and Summer sessions, it was nice to get back into the swing of things. Of course, it was also pure agony.

I think the agony was mostly caused by the one exercise we did on Tuesday — an exercise that got incorporated into our dance phrase at the end of the night. This exercise involves a move, which I’ll try to describe. You start seated on the ground with your knees bent and your lower legs and feet tucked off to the left of your torso. You then swing your legs so that they’re off to the right of your torso. Then you swing them back back to the left. Then you fall to your right and roll onto your back, you’re knees bent and over your chest. You continue the roll back into a sitting position with your legs on your right again. You reverse the roll and end up back with your legs on your left. You then whip your legs around clockwise so that they go from left to right, then behind you (this requires that you allow your torso to come forward and lay stomach down) back to your left, to the front, and finally ending once again bent and tucked to your right. I imagine that description is hard to follow, but I don’t have video. In some ways, I think it helps to picture a gymnast doing a routine on the horse. Except in the dance exercise, you’re not trying to hold your weight up on your arms as you whip your lower bod around.

This exercise is murder, especially when you consider the speed at which you’re trying to whip your legs in a 360+ degree circuit around your body. (You have just a couple beats in the music to do it.) Quite frankly, at 280 pounds, I have a lot of weight I’m trying to move in a short period of time. Of course, Michael (who weights at least 100 pounds less than me) said he also found the exercise painful the first time Christine introduced it in class a year or so ago. So I take comfort in the knowledge that it’s not just me.

Other than that, both nights were actually pretty close to a cake walk. Because this week was the start of a new session and we had a lot of new students in both classes, Christine decided to start over and take things slowly. So the exercises were a lot simpler than what I was used to by the time our last session was coming to a close. Of course, I’m not complaining about this. Simpler, more familiar exercises in class mean that I can take this time to work on perfecting my technique and working on some issues I’m having — like the fact that I tend to pull my arm too far back when holding it in second position.

Wednesday night, Christine chose to revisit a phrase that the class was working on when I joined back in January. Again, this meant that it was familiar (well, part of it, because she went further with it this time). It also meant that I could focus on getting the arms right, which I had problems with the last time we worked on this phrase. After we refused the phrase a few times, Christine asked me if I got it. I said yes, and she sent Barbara (another long-time student in the class) and myself to the back of the room where the other students could follow our lead when we got to the part of the phrase where everyone turned around. Not that I minded, but it was quite a surprise.

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