Last semester, when I was looking at my extracurricular options, I noticed the modern dance class. I’ve always enjoyed watching dance and had fun doing ballroom dancing with my husband while we were dating. However, he found it vastly amusing that I wanted to try a modern dance class. He said, “Do you know what modern dance is?”
A few weeks later, he found a local recreational modern dance class for me to try. I wasn’t going to pass up on his offer to watch the girls for one night a week while I went out, so I enrolled. The class billed itself as “no experience required,” but only two of us had no previous dancing experience; two girls seemed very experienced, and the other three had danced most of the way through high school.
We spent most of the class learning choreography for “The Garden.” I felt a little bit behind for the first few weeks as I tried to figure out jumps and turns that everyone else seemed to know. The choreography went very fast; I’d barely learned a section before we jumped into the next part. When the instructor mentioned the dance showcase at the end of the year, I was sure I’d never be ready. The others, who knew how to dance, could do that.
I kept thinking about the showcase, though. It’d be fun to do, a nice finale to all the work that we’d put into the class. On a good week, I’d think, “Sure, I’ll do it.” The next week, we’d move on to a confusing part of the song or I’d be really tired and I’d think, “Never mind.” Two weeks before the last class, I was still undecided. At that class, though, we finished learning all the choreography and went over the song several times. It felt good. I was having fun. I said I’d do it.
We had one more rehearsal, a quick dress rehearsal in the auditorium, and then it was the night of the performance. I told Sunshine, who’d been asking to go to my dance class with me for weeks, that tonight she could watch me dance. As I walked over to get ready for the dance, I was calm. No butterflies. I can count the number of times I’ve performed in public on one hand, but I felt ready for this.
We had a group warm-up session and then retreated to the dressing room to get ready. Our instructor back-brushed everyone’s hair into a wild mess and installed bright flowers. A fellow classmate and make-up artist painted our faces to look like porcelain dolls. Then we found a quiet corner to rehearse in. And rehearse. When girls admitted to butterflies, our instructor kept telling us we were awesome, we knew the dance, it would be great.
Our dance was third from last. Another girl admitted that she was getting calmer the longer we waited, but I was getting more nervous. Then the backstage crew called us to get ready. Lined up in the wings, we tried to see what was going on while our instructor continued to back brush our hair and assure us we’d do fine. Then the MCs announced us and we ran out onto the dark stage. The music started and we did what we’d rehearsed so many times.
It went by so quick. Never before had the dance seemed to short. I got distracted once and messed up a bit, but we kept going. After, we laughed and congratulated each other, then grabbed our stuff and ran up to the wings to watch the last two dances. Peering over the balcony, I could see Sunshine leaning on the chair in front of her, completely engrossed in the dances. Now I have some new moves to show her when we’re dancing in the living room.
In the email inviting us to perform, the dance coordinator said, “If you believe Eleanor Roosevelt, we should all ‘do one thing everyday that scares’ us.” As always when I’ve stepped a bit out of my comfort zone, and done something that I initially thought I couldn’t, I had fun. While I’m not sure whether I’ll do another modern dance class, I enjoyed this one, including the opportunity to present what I learned. Knowing that I can push myself in that way is a good feeling.