Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Snap, crackle, hip hop

Above the wall of mirrors *gulp* at J'adore Dance are the words: Sweat. Breathe. Live. Dance.

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


  1. More power to ya, lady! Hope you can keep that smile on your face!!! <3

  2. Firsts are the hardest. But you done did it and you're going back. Take a bow :-)

    Next thing you know you'll be da bizzle in da house bustin' moves and your peeps will be sayin' you da
    shiznit! "

    keep it trill,Momma!
    (keep it true and real)

  3. Thanks Wendy :-)

    Aww Kyle, you melted me with your support. Thanks for adding to the smile <3

    I'd be more than happy to bow, Jamie - as soon as I can bend without hurting :-)

    Thanks, Candy.

  4. Dance like no one is looking. That's my motto. Cheers!

  5. Great motto, SM. Too bad there's a giant mirror I'm forced to look at :-)

  6. Its what life is about ... trying new things...stretching yourself...growing..
    Good on you for doing just that!

  7. "Freestyle.

    Kind of like vomiting on the page, no?"

    Am I wrong for totally getting this and laughing my butt off at the same time.

  8. Thanks Sue. Tough...but worth it, on so many levels.

    LOL @ Crimey. No, not wrong at all :-)

  9. Thanks Tahereh. A WOO HOO from you is meaningful indeed ;-)

  10. fantastic!!!
    so glad you got your sweat on and had fun!

  11. Thanks Mi!!!! I've been missing you :-)

  12. Dawn you know you love it!!! Sweat is your calling I swear! Love ya and keep shaking your booty with the "whatever" shoulder shrugs!!

    Your braver than me, that's for sure! :)

  13. LOL. Ok, Karen. You busted me. I *do* love it - especially the shoulder shrugs. Want to learn some moves? We could incorporate it into True Blood night...Or maybe in Vegas? Or while cross stitching? <3 xo

  14. Vomit on the page? No problem! Vomit on the dance floor? Likely. Still, it sounds like fun. I might have to join you next time.

  15. You know...that does sound good. That way I'll only have to make a fool of myself in front of you. :) xoxo!!

  16. Oh, I love dancing. It's so liberating- especially when you're dancing with a group of people to the same music. It's a universal form of expression. I'm so glad you're sizzlin and poppin- it sounds like a frickin blast!

  17. Karen - you never make a fool of yourself. xoxo

    CQG - I love the *idea* of dancing...I've just got a LONG way to go before I'd show anyone :-) But I am having fun. So far.

  18. Sorry Donna, your comment was hidden!!! I'd LOVE you to join me. Fit Hop Tuesdays. Salsa Burn Wednesdays. Naughty Hotties on Thursday... Come dance with me! (Or at least stumble around...) xoxo

  19. Just hopping by to say hello! I am following and can’t wait to read more from your blog.I have a Crescendo contest going on and here is my link for my Follow Friday