Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I just need to move

I’ve been looking forward to this all day. I shove a burrito down my gullet, grab my bag, and make my way into class. If Lynn catches me eating a burrito, she’ll tease me endlessly about how the young think they’ll be thin forever, so I gulp it down and throw away the wrapper.

Dropping my bag in the corner and kicking off my flip flops, I pull off my sweats and pile my hair into a messy bun on top of my head.

I find a spot on the hardwood floor and plop down as ungracefully as possible. Other girls are wandering in and we gossip as they find spots in front of the mirror. I spread my legs out spread-eagle style and begin a good, cool stretch. 

With my arms leading, I pull my head down to my knees and grab my bare toes. My feet point and flex and point and flex and I feel the power of each tendon. I stretch my back and arms and ass and muscles most people don’t even know they have.

Lynn turns on an African beat, and we chat with her as she begins the warm-up. She leads and we follow along to the syncopation that resonates into the floor. The movement is a language all its own. 1 2 3 4 relevé, turn, plié, forced arch, relevé, tendu, turn, battement attitude, contract, release, and return. Again. Again.

After warm-up, we settle on the floor to stretch again. Fully warm muscles move into even deeper stretches and we groan as Lynn pushes further into our limits.

20 minutes at the barre in pain and agony as we focus on technique and feet and ankles and hips as we tendu and battement and round de jambe.

“Isn’t this fun?”

“Masochist!” we laugh back at her.

Time for choreography we’ve been working on for weeks. We take our places and Lynn starts the music. She counts us off but most of us know our cues. Immediately, my mind lets go and my body takes over. I cease to exist and my body is all there is of me. I can’t think about anything else. Only movement and music. 

My mind is gone and my muscles know each step. Bare feet slide and jump and mark time as fingers stretch, toes flex and point, legs and arms fly deliberately around, finding the floor and then up again, rolling, spinning, leaping, extending, and tilting.

I breathe into the movement. Ahhh ooh AHH shh oooh ah sss AH. Knees knock on the floor, toes scrape, muscles pull, but I don’t feel any of it. I just feel the steps, the movement, the pull of the dance from every inch of my body into my soul.

We repeat it over and over until class is over and even though I’m drenched with sweat and  my hair is a tangle and my lungs are threatening to burst and my muscles might just abandon my body for a much more sedentary host, I wish I could keep going.

Nevertheless, I pull on my sweats and flip flops and wobble out to my car a happier person.

Dancing is happiness. My whole life, no matter who I am or what is happening, I can forget everything and just move. It’s all I ever really need. Always just what I need.



This was a post for The Red Writing Hood RemembeRED prompt: Imagine you are meeting someone for the first time. You want to tell them about yourself. Instead of reciting a laundry list of what you do or where you're from, please give us a scene from your life that best illustrates your true self. This is an exercise in showing, not telling. You need to show us why this particular moment defines you, or why you want someone to know this truth about you. Be descriptive without bogging us down in extraneous details.

27 comments mean you love me:

Jack said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Here via TRDC

I liked your line,"dancing is happiness."

Keda said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

the first time i ever saw swan lake, I walked away and told my mother 'that was what I was suppose to be'. But we moved away too much. I never got to finish a year or do an exam.

Now I do yoga. It's a close love, but sometimes I imagine my life as a dancer, and I always wonder if I will get a chance in my next life.

I hope so.

enjoy!

Nush said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Loved the description. You painted a very vivid picture, very visual. I could really feel it and see it in front of me - even though I do not dance myself.

"It’s all I ever really need. Always just what I need." - perfect! :)

Leslie said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Beautiful! I'm not a dancer, but the closest I have been is a demanding kung fu class, I love your descriptions of the pain, pushing yourself, the repetition. Those are things I remember.

I Thought I Knew Mama said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Great description. It made me miss my days as a dancer so much.

Visiting from TRDC.

Miranda said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

The way you described dancing is how I feel about singing. I don't do it much anymore, but those moments when I'm alone and belting it out in the car? God. I love that person I am when I do that.

I'd imagine you are your best self when you're dancing, right?

This totally makes me want to dance.

Annie said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I can just see you moving to the beats! What a fun piece to read. Everyone needs to find something they love as much as you love dancing :)

Hutch said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I miss dancing more than anything! Zumba just doesn't cut it.

Denelle @CaitsConcepts said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

So beautiful.. music has always been a source of comfort for me, an easy way to lose the world for awhile, though I'm not nearly coordinated enough to be able to physically express myself through it. ;)

amygrew said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I feel the same way about volleyball. Its such a great feeling to be able to lose yourself in something. We all need it.

guardling said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Preach sista! lol, seriously though, there really is nothing like dance class where you can lose yourself for an hour or two! Especially ones where you know you've worked super hard and are all sweaty and tired and you just feel amazing afterward! le sigh...i miss dancing...

Liz said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Oh, how I'd love to dance again! It's so exhilirating!!

Kristy said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I love the whole intro to this and then was entranced to find out it was ballet. So glad you joined RDC, because that is how I found you and now I get to follow!

Lauren Marie said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

you rock. seriously. love the insight into your dancing days, i hope you find a way to work classes into your budget soon.

knowing i get to go to class next wednesday night is all that's getting me through work this week

The mad woman behind the blog said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

While I've never been able to put all the steps together to dance mindlessly, I do recognize the happiness it provides, and the escape.

WELL DONE, I'm feeling the need to move right now. Thank you for that.

Cheryl said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I'm always in awe of dancers. REAL dancers, and how they become one with the music. Well-told!

Suniverse said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

This was gorgeous, and so are you.

You are an excellent writer.

Sluiter Nation said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I am not a dancer; I don't know much about it, but your description and flow feel like dancing. And i can FEEL your love of the dance.

very nicely done!

andygirl said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

my goodness, thank you for the kind words, everyone! I read each and every comment. *muah* thank you so much!

Lynnette said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

You really need to find a dance studio! ;-) Makes me wish I had just a little bit of gracefulness.

logyexpress.com said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I loved this description. A little jealous of dancing ability too!

lex [lexinthecity] said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I love everything about this post. I felt as though I was right there dancing inside of you.

Satan said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

damn, i feel like i just went back to ballet class!!!

we hate you. love, us said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

yes, yes, YES!!! Oh man, that's SOO the feeling of going to dance class. Seriously, nothing makes me happier. Sore feet, toes, arms, etc. and it's so amazing. You described it all beautifully.

andygirl said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Lynnette-I just can't afford it

logy- thank you! don't be jealous. there are lots of things I wish I could do. lots!

lex- oh thank you! that was the best compliment!

Satan- well, it was a Modern class, but still. :D

B&V- thanks! can you tell I miss it? gah!

Galit Breen said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

You passion absolutely shines through! I have absolutely no doubt that this *is* your happiness!

andygirl said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

oh thank you! and thanks for reading!

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