Return of the Dancing Queen.

“I like attractive people who aren’t so terribly aware that they are attractive… people who aren’t afraid to roll on the floor and make fools out of themselves.”

Bob Fosse

Watch out world! The Dancing Queen is back.

Tonight, my dance class kicked off again for the New Year, and I was there with bells on. Well, I was actually still wearing my pink satin ballet slippers, pink ballet tights and a new addition…the black “tutu” I picked up from Vinnies (charity shop) last weekend.

While this might all sound pretty “normal”, it was a contemporary/jazz/lyrical class. For the uninitiated that means you DO NOT WEAR BALLET ATTIRE!!! However, I’ve created my own space with my pink satin slippers and they’ve sort of become “me”. Besides, they really are too pretty to hide away in my cupboard, now that we’ve changed codes. By the way, I’m not the only one who’s turned up to class with a certain je ne sais quoi either. Our adult dance class has a few subversive elements.

IMG_0839

While you might find someone with limited mobility is an unlikely dancer, perhaps that’s why dancing has suddenly become so important to me. That when something gets snatched away, you realize how precious it is and you want to grasp it with both hands and swing from the chandelier. Moreover, I’ve also found a safe and accepting place to dance and we’re a great bunch of people!! That has certainly made a world of difference! I can simply have a go. Do my best and hold onto that sense of sheer exhilaration for as long as I can.

I’ve also realized, now that I’m nearing 50, that I’m finally stepped out of my metaphorical cage. Indeed,  I’ve finally found my wings.It’s such a shame, in a way because I’ve lost a lot of time and they were always there waiting for me. However, I guess that’s why you have to earn your wings. They need to be appreciated, valued, treasured and used. They’re not just pretty ornaments.

Like so many, my reluctance to dance and my paralyzing self-consciousness,  wasn’t self-imposed. The cage came from outside. That constricting peer pressure, which decreed that only the cool girls could dance. That anyone as “unco” as me, shouldn’t be seen dead on the dance floor. Rather, you had to hide yourself away.

Yet, dancing is for everyone and by denying people the opportunity to dance and set themselves free in the physical realm, you’re cutting them off from their soul.

That’s not just rhetoric either.

While the context is a bit different, I still remember that dreadful scene in Dead Poet’s Society where Neil’s Dad wouldn’t let him perform in the play and pursue a career in the theatre, and he took his life. He couldn’t live being so estranged from himself.

That’s an important scene to keep in mind as a parent for a multitude of reasons.

Anyway, I digress. Getting back to tonight’s class…

Tonight’s class was inspired by the choreography of Bob Fosse. Fosse was born in 1927 to a performing family and hit the vaudeville stage at a young age. In addition to his more traditional dance education, Fosse had first-hand experience with the burlesque style of dance, and this informed much of his choreography. One of his earliest dance creations, choreographed at the age of 15, was a suggestive nightclub number featuring girls wearing ostrich feathers. This early moment hints at the larger thread of sensuality that would run through all of his work. However, his work isn’t purely burlesque. It is its own unique amalgamation that results in cool jazz movements.

“Live like you’ll die tomorrow, work like you don’t need the money, and dance like nobody’s watching.”

Bob Fosse

However, Bob Fosse was another world away tonight, and my eyes were glued to my teacher, Miss Karina Russell, who translates professional dance into something I can almost follow. By that, I mean something I can almost write about. The actual doing needs a lot more work. My  arms and legs were all over the place, which is to be somewhat expected with a new routine but I’m still trying to take in what I see  and am a long way of translating that into my own movements. Yet, not to be too hard on myself, I am on the way and it was only the first take.

Moreover, despite my struggles, I received nothing but encouragement. We had fun, laughed and I stretched myself beyond my comfort zone and also extended my body and mind beyond the width of my laptop. That’s important in itself. I spend hours writing, researching and not stretching my body beyond my chair.

Have you ever attended an adult dance class? Why or why not? How did you feel about it? I’d love to hear from you!

xx Rowena

 

11 thoughts on “Return of the Dancing Queen.

  1. New Journey

    I close my eyes and see you in your pink ballet slippers and black tutu….I am so happy that your back on your toes and twirling…I have never been a dancer….I would rather be the one playing the music….LOL have fun my friend….xxkat

  2. utesmile

    So glad to hear you are dancing again, make the most of it and enjoy every move. Age makes a difference when doing things like that. The older you get he less you mind other peoples’ opinions about yourself, which is a good thing. Do what you enjoy and go for it! 🙂

  3. maxwellthedog

    I was actually still wearing my pink satin ballet slippers, pink ballet tights and a new addition…the black “tutu” I picked up from Vinnies

    Photos or it didn’t happen 🙂 Come on..no teasing!

  4. Rowena Post author

    Yes, definitely a pair of happy feet here. BTW, I’ve been given a disability care package recently and have started weekly physio. I am now trying to do a brisk 10 minute walk daily and have exercises as well…multiples sets throughout the day and I’m trying to get my head around those. No doubt, it’s the ones I don’t like which will do me the most good. I particularly don’t like the sit to stand and you should hear my knees complain!
    Hope things are going well for you!
    xx Rowena

  5. Rowena Post author

    I know this sounds crazy given how I take so many photos, but I haven’t taken one photo of my new ballet shoes, even though I love them so much. Unfortunately, they brought out the perfectionist in me and I’ve been focused on getting that perfect shot. That’s a bad character flaw.
    BTW I found out that a distant cousin of my husband’s is the vet for the Australian army and oversees their bomb detection dogs. I thought you’d find this interestnig and I thought the dog looked like a skinny cousin of Lady’s: http://www xx Ro.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/animalpeople/major-kendall-crocker/6597048

  6. Rowena Post author

    Thanks very much, Kat. The dancer is a new found alter-ego I inherited from my daughter. She’s been invited by her school to audition for the regional dance group. That’s very exciting. Well, the audition part is because the same teacher stuck her in the back row last year so while we’re not talking about becoming Maddy Ziegler yet, at least she’s not at the bottom of the pecking order anymore either. A friend has warned me this regional dance group is a lot of work and I can feel my taxi role increasing. My aunt who is from a family of professional dancers did warn me but when it seems like a part of her destiny, how can you not be the wind beneath her wings? That said, I had thought it was me that was going to be the prima donna!
    I’ve been head down trying to get my husband’s family history sorted and it’s become bigger than Ben Hur. Yesterday, I found out his something something cousin is the Australian army’s only full time vet. I had a bit of a laugh because the dog in the photo looks a lot like Lady and we both know how good she is at following the rules. Here’s a link:http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/animalpeople/major-kendall-crocker/6597048
    Hope you’re having a great week.
    xx Ro

  7. New Journey

    Yes I agree the dogs could be related…and what an interesting job…and I agree how can you not be the wings beneath her heels…..we do anything for our children…and trust me it doesn’t stop when they move out….LOL enjoy twirling my friend, you deserve it!!!

  8. Rowena Post author

    I was so stoked to find out we have a connection to the vet and the dog. What an interesting relative!
    I’ve been doing physio and am trying to walk 10 minutes a day and do exercises. It’s hard to juggle that with the rain, driving Madam around and a family meltdown. Can’t everything just fall into place and work smoothly for a bit?!! Seemingly not at the mad house. Our daughter has her huge selective schools test this week and I feel like I’m trying to hold back a tsunami until it’s over. Praying for strong arms on that front!
    Hope you’re going well!
    xx Rowena

  9. New Journey

    My daughter was the same way with her school test….wish they could just take a deep breath and be still for a moment….lots of tears and late nights for sure….your doing great…I need to really get exercise back in my life, I have no excuses, just hate to exercise….!! heading out to the desert this morning with a couple of trucks….don’t think we will go really deep, I am looking for rocks with holes in them…LOL…Happy week my friend…keep dancing….xxx

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