Thursday, November 9, 2006

Happy feet

Around the time I wrote the last post, I realized that what I was missing was missing was regular physical activity. Back in the day this meant dancing at some club for hours on end. When I first started teaching, I was enrolled in bellydancing classes. (Perhaps this is why I started to be mistaken for a "dancer" when I went out.) Dance has always been a part of my life. That's what the real problem is. I can dance all I want at home for the cats but it just isn't the same.

Dancing began when I was four. That's when my mother realized that I would be tall and that she wanted me to be graceful. She signed me up for tap lessons. She forgot that I was painfully shy back then. Classes consisted of me standing around and refusing to do anything. Then I'd go home and execute the steps perfectly for my dad. After some time my mother decided it was a waste of money. When I was nine and asked for ballet lessons, she threw this back in my face. I ended up with piano lessons instead -- my request though.

In the meantime, my mother who always loved dancing taught me cha-cha, swing, and mambo. I got to college and signed up for ballet and jazz classes. In the club kid days of the 80s, the cool thing was to come up with your own move -- something that others would want to emulate. I never got there and instead could mimic someone a couple of beats behind him/her. I guess this was unique in some ways. So I'd mimic moves off of the ultra-cool in the SF underground club scene and take them back to San Diego.

A few years ago, I was hanging out with a former friend in SoCal for her birthday. One of her sisters is a bellydance instructor. My friend had requested that her sister dance for her birthday. After I saw the performance, I knew this was a perfect form of exercise. I have never been a fan of gyms. The first few months, I would awake in the middle of the night in extreme pain as I discovered muscles that had not been used previously. After a year or so, I took a year off. I was sure that upon my return, I would be in pain once more. The surprise was that I wasn't. It seems that the muscles had not forgotten.

Over the last few years I have sworn to myself that I would return to classes. But then I had that job that did not facilitate making plans with folks. When I took the Portuguese class, I almost had to throw a hissy fit so that I could make sure that I got off work in time to attend classes. I guess I could have done the same with the dance classes but by the time I thought of it, I knew that it was time for me to leave that job.

Where is all of this heading? This week I found out about a samba/Afro-Cuban class at the secondary school in my school district. It's this afternoon and I plan to be there. Hopefully the dancing will fill that void in my life.

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