The classes at the New Gym have been a little magic pill for me lately. Several are dance-related, which is one of my oldest passions.
I started dancing when I was four. I still remember the recital that year – my hat fell down into my eyes at the end of the number, and everyone laughed. I was embarrassed, but I continued on to dance in more shows than I can count. One year, I was the rear-end of a dancing cow. (I drew the short straw.) It’s not easy to tap dance while your body is bent in half, staring at the ground, trust me. Not to mention, I was the “butt” of every joke. 🙂
In 1985-86, I was preparing for a big move from Indianapolis to Washington D.C. for a job. I decided to watch the Redskins game on television (we didn’t have the Colts yet) to get me in the spirit. It happened to be the game that Theismann wrecked his leg, but my focus was on the girls, who were doing cute dance routines on the sidelines. I could do that, I thought. So, after I got settled in D.C., I auditioned for the 1988 Washington Redskins Cheerleaders, a.k.a Redskinettes, (along with 400 other girls) and made it. To this day, I’m not sure it was my dance skills that got me the job. Maybe my passion just shone through and made me stand out a little. A big smile is involuntary when I am dancing. Regardless, to date, it’s the accomplishment I’m most proud of.
I was going to audition for the Rockettes a few years ago, but I discovered the minimum height requirement is 5’6″. And they’re firm on that. So, I’m resigned to being a fan. I felt positively giddy at their show this year.
Not only is dancing just plain fun for me, but I really love the way my body feels when I am pushing it to its limits. Pilates classes are so connected with dance; the stretches are very similar to dance warm-ups, and the powerful awareness of my body is the same.
Reaching out and feeling the space surrounding me… merging with it… expanding my Self. I feel taller… stronger… happier. Magic. Isolating particular muscle groups connects mind and body. Keen awareness of every inch of my leg from my waist to the very tip of my toe, my arms from the shoulder to my little pinkie… breathing deeply… expanding my chest and ribcage and filling my lungs full of Life with every breath… pleasuring no one but myself.