Friday, May 30, 2014


I've always loved to dance.  One of the reasons why I chose the apartment I live in is because there is a large living room floor directly above an office.  The office is usually unoccupied when I am home.  That means I can dance around the living room all I want without disturbing the neighbors.  When I dance around the living room, I am filled with joy.

I've always loved to dance.  I've always loved dancing around where I live.  The other thing that I've always done, on and off, and try to do more official kinds of dancing.  They don't work out, but I keep trying new ones.

I took ballet when I was 6.  I did not do well and it did not last that long.

As a child and teenager, I had a little experience with square and contra dancing, and also went to school dances.  In junior high, the boys had to ask the girls to dance.  It was all partner dances.  So I went to the 7th grade dance and I went to the 8th grade dance, and at each once, I got to dance one dance.  In high school, a group of girls could dance together, so I got to dance more, I didn't have to wait for a boy to ask me.

In college, physical education classes only lasted for one quarter, which was half a semester.  I took one quarter of Israeli folk dance, and one or two quarters of modern dance, but other quarters I was busy with other physical education classes, including yoga, swimming, and self defense.

My first year after college, starting my first job was enough to keep my busy, but after one year, I moved to a different place, and near that place was an aerobics class.  I took aerobics for most of the three years that I lived there.

Then I went away to graduate school.  My exercise consisted of all the walking I did, to school and to grocery shopping.

After school, I was unemployed for a  year.  After getting settled in my job, I took aerobics.  I did that for several years, until it ended.

In years after that I tried ballroom, swing, contra, English country, modern, and jazz.  Ballroom, swing, contra, and English country require a partner.  I hate that when I can't find a partner, I have to sit on the sidelines.  Those kinds of dances are not for me.  I really object to the idea that you are not allowed to have fun unless you have a partner.

Modern and jazz were tough.  I had no experience with jazz dance, and only a few months of experience with modern dance.  I was in a class with people who had been doing it since they were 5.  They were college students, and I was in my 30s.  I did not last long in that environment.

Then they started offering Nia classes at work.  I liked that.  I kept doing it as long as it was offered, which was a few years.

Next up was tai chi.  I took that for 9 months.  I quit when we got to the end of the 24 form because my teacher seemed annoyed with me for not being good at it.

One year after quitting tai chi, I started Morris dance.  I've been doing that for just over two years now.  My experience with Morris dance is like my experience with ballet, modern, jazz, and tai chi -- I'm terrible at it.  I don't mind being terrible at it.  What I mind is when other people get annoyed at the fact that I am terrible at it.

There are some things I like about Morris dance.  I like the way it's about celebrating the coming of spring.  I like the way it's about keeping alive a tradition of my ancestors.  I like dance that's about performing.

The style of dance isn't everything that I need.  I like dance that's more about full body movement, like Nia or modern dance.  If I had the time and energy, I would Morris dance plus other kinds that have more of that full body movement.

For the future, I'm signed up to take tai chi this summer.  Two things I haven't tried yet but would like to try are sole synthesis and  dances of universal peace. I may try a zumba class (I've done zumba at home with a video.) I may some day try again to take modern or jazz, if I can find a class for middle-aged, fat beginners, instead of being with a lot of young fit people who have been doing it since they were 5.

Dancing around the living room fills me with joy.  Going out in the world and trying to follow someone else's instructions about how to dance is often frustrating.  I do okay with exercise classes (aerobics, Nia), but I hate sitting out partner dances, and I seem to annoy the teachers of performance dancing (ballet, jazz, modern, Morris).  You'd think I'd be content to just dance around the living room, but I keep trying new ways of going out in the world and trying to follow someone else's instructions about how to dance.  I think it's because I want to learn and grow.

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