Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Snap, crackle, hip hop
I've got the first part down to a tee, but I've a long journey ahead of me before I can dance.
No problem. Baby steps, right?
Uh, not if you're in Jessica's Fit Hop class where the slogan "Go Big or Go Home" is redefined.
Hip hop is all about large, exaggerated movements - hip thrusts that pop, side slides that sizzle, shoulder shrugs that shout "whatever." There's an attitude you're supposed to bring to the floor, and even a simple front march has a certain crotch-grabbing swagger...
Me? Not quite at the swagger. Never mind the giant mirrors mocking my lack of coordination, I spent the majority of the class trying to mimic Jess without gawking. The Jessica I met for coffee - and the girl I worked with at Chapters many years ago - is not the same superstar who lets it out on the dance floor. Don't get me wrong, I've always thought there was something special about her -- her passion for life, her commitment to friends and family, her ability to love without condition.
But on the dance floor?
Well, that's a whole new level of wow.
And it's infectious.
Intimidating, yes. But definitely addictive.
I stumbled through most of the moves - heck, I even stumbled through the warm-up - but I appreciated how the sequence of steps was stripped down to the basics. Like learning the rules of writing before actually putting pen to paper. I may not be able to entice Usher with my shoulder rolls (hey, that's a tricky move), or snap my fingers with Beyonce-inspired confidence (yet), but my hip thrusts may someday rival Shakira's if I stick with it - and my first manuscript wasn't written overnight.
With the exception of Naughty Hotties, I think I'd set Fit Hop up as the class designed most to intimidate me, but in reality, it's my own self-esteem issues wreaking havoc on my ability to fully break out of my comfort zone. I do believe dancers come in all shapes and sizes, but when your instructor is a mesmerizing picture of confidence and grace, the obstacles seem larger than life.
*I* seemed larger than life.
Admittedly, much of my anxiety melted by the end of an hour packed with laughter and great music. It's easy to get swept up by the beat - and when your feet decide to be difficult, it's ok (says Jess) to pretend that's what you meant to do all along.
Kind of like vomiting on the page, no?
Even in my sleep I continued to hear Jessica's enthusiastic voice, encouraging us to "pop it." This morning, I can still picture her lithe form leading us through a series of moves that actually looked like Hip Hop. (Word!) And my abs are stinging from repeated, sweat-inducing hip thrusts.
More than that, though, is the ache across my jaw from smiling and laughing.
That's the ache that will inspire me to go back again. Because let's face it, it ain't my stellar dance moves ;-)
The Book In My Bag Today: Haunted, Kelley Armstrong