And really, I haven't been 18 in over decade. You'd think that I'd have gotten used to it by now, but maybe not.
In an effort to restart my workouts for 2009, I attended a couple of dance classes last week. There is a small, local studio in my new 'hood that is supposed to be pretty good. I trotted down there Thursday night to take a Jazz Funk class that was labeled an "adult" class. Fine. However, once the class started, I realized by "adult" they meant "can legally drive a car". I'm gonna guess the average age of the class was maybe 20. And I think I'm being generous.
The age thing and the little clique of teens I found waiting for class to start really threw me for a loop. My initial reaction was to respond negatively. I was kind of intimidated and kept thinking "wow, look at how they think they're all that, etc, etc". But I stopped when I realized that I used to be them. I was one of the top girls in my little hometown dance studio in high school, one of the queen bees, if you will. And we walked around like we were the shit because that studio was our home. We had grown up there and were comfortable there. I still have so many fond memories of being with my other dance girls, going to competitions, performing in shows. It was one of the hardest things for me to leave when I moved to LA for school. I miss it even today. So who was I to judge these girls? They were only acting the way I had so many years ago.
Class started and I went through the warm up with no problems. The instructor said she doesn't usually repeat combos, but since she loved this one sooo much and because of the break and whatnot, she wanted to continue the one they learned before Christmas. She then proceeded to teach 7 eight-counts (e.g. 56 steps, not including half counts) in approximately 10 minutes.
I usually pick up choreography really quickly, not that I can do it perfectly, but I know it well enough to not look like an idiot after once or two go-rounds. Oh, but not this time. I was totally "that girl", the one who is in the back of the class, bumbling around like a fool who has no idea what she is doing. I've never been "that girl". Ever. Frustration does not begin to describe how I felt.
About midway through class, one of the youngins' complained that no wonder she was so lost, she never learned the combination in the first place. To which the instructor replied "Well, how do you think she [pointing at me] feels?" To which I responded, "I feel old." This seemed to break the ice with the young clique. The girls protested no, you're not old, the instructor said I was doing fine, that she normally teaches fast, but not this fast and we continued on with the combination.
Some of the girls continued to encourage me and some even introduced themselves. They seem like a sweet bunch overall. One girl is the spitting image of one of my good friends, which is odd and vaguely comforting at the same time. I never mastered the combination, but by the end, I could do it without looking like a total dweeb.
I haven't danced with teenagers since I was their age. And while it was really intimidating at first, I realized that I enjoy it. It brings me back to my own dance studio days, when I ran the place and it was as much a part of me as breathing. I'm going back this week. Even if my almost 30-year old bum can't quite pick up the steps as fast as I could when I was 18. Even if it means I have to swallow a little bit of my pride and be "that girl" for a few more weeks. I'm okay with that. In the end, it kinda makes me feel young again.