Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Dance like no one's watching

I was a dancer, when I was young. I was good, too. During my junior and senior years of high school I took dance lessons just about 7 days a week and I spent a hugh chunk of my weekends at the studio taking multiple classes. I studied ballet, jazz and modern dance. Dancing made me feel wonderful. For me, it was pure expression and I loved it. The summer after high school, I quit taking dance lessons. I quit because I was going to college in the fall and I wasn't going to study dance, I guess. Go figure how I made decisions as a 17 year-old.

Looking at colleges, it came down to a choice between studying dance at Bennington (a school that I didn't even visit or end up applying to) and studying goodness-knows-what at the University of Michigan. I visited Michigan - 35 people from my graduating class went to Michigan even though I grew up in Illinois. I had a great time when I visited and they had a really good football team. There's that decision-making skill at work again! It was a matter of comfort. I've never been much good at pushing beyond my comfort zone.

Why did I quit dancing? I'll never know for sure but I think that once I decided I wasn't good enough to be a professional dancer, I thought I had to stop dancing. It's not that I picked up another hobby or spent my time in a different endeavor. I. just. stopped. I've never found anything else that makes me feel as good as dancing felt. And that's just sad. Maybe this is part of the reason why I haven't been able to stick to an exercise program. Most exercise is just plain boring to me and my body wants to dance, not spend 20 minutes on the treadmill.

So, I've decided to take dance classes again. Yes, as an out of shape, slightly over-weight 40 year old, I am going to start dancing. I called the studio I'm thinking about going to and asked whether a 40 year-old woman would be totally out of place there and the young, perky sounding woman who answered the phone assured me that they get students of all ages. I'm going to take her word for it and try to start classes next week. (Although I just realized that the time for the class conflicts with the time slot for Meredith's piano class so I'm going to have to see what I can work out - there's always an excuse, isn't there?)

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