degas

      It’s been a couple of months since attempting my first “dance” experience, and I have learned that I am not a dancer. I honestly don’t know what I was expecting — it was difficult enough when I was 13 trying not to fall over my feet as my jazz teacher showed us how to do a kick-ball-change, but now at 29 maybe I thought I had gotten used to my gangly legs. Mm, not so much.

      I am not altogether uncoordinated, and learning ballet positions bit by bit is fun because they are isolated exercises — I can get my foot to point and my leg to extend and it’ll look somewhat like it’s supposed to, but add in the other leg, or add in arm movements, and everything falls apart. When more than one limb is involved, I can feel the disconnect between my brain parsing out what I should be doing, and my arms and legs that are just flailing, and I realize, oh, dancing is hard. It feels like the buzz in the back of your head when you’re trying to solve a math problem that doesn’t make sense yet. Except, for me, the problem cannot be solved.

      It’s funny — I thought that taking beginner dance classes would be freeing, like, Look! I have taken the first step to becoming a real dancer! Instead, it’s shown me that my strengths are elsewhere. I will probably never be able to present my creativity physically and gracefully. And this isn’t a defeatist attitude! Not at all! I’m still going to go to dance classes because, if I don’t take it too seriously, it’s fun and thoughtful and my mind is flexed in ways that it usually isn’t. But it’s also grounded my dreams very quickly (and somewhat harshly).

      Have you ever done anything that’s outside of your usual comfort zone? How did it go?

      Painting: The Rehearsal by Edgar Degas

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      This is the story of me and all dance, or even exercise like Zumba, kickboxing, or, worst of all, group sports. This is why I run and ride my bike. I can do those things alone without causing shame or harm to other people. ;)

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