Some strange things have happened since I started taking a hip hop class three Saturdays ago. I’ve become happier, more confident, and more likely to shake my hips in the Hazel dressing room. I haven’t become a better dancer, but that’s beside the point.
At the first class, I was so confused I couldn’t even fail properly. I like yoga because it’s flowy and you usually get multiple chances to try a pose that eludes you. Also, you’re never forced to do steps across the floor, in twos, which I haven’t done since kindergarten ballet class. At the first class, not only was I unable to do the steps, but I also couldn’t count to eight, so I kept stumbling across the floor too soon and bumping into the poor twos ahead of me. “Are you alright?” asked my hip-hop dancing friend, and all I could answer was, “What am I doing here?”
So during the week, I read the Wiki on hip hop, bought some sneakers, practiced the video they sent around, and signed up for a free month of The Daily Burn. When I tried to do the hip hop class on Daily Burn it was so impossible that it made the Saturday class look easy.
The second class went better until the teacher added new steps to the old ones, and they included hip swivels. I’ve always had trouble moving my hips. I can still hear my high school gym teacher calling, “You’re not moving your hips” or “You need to move your hips” or I forget the exact line, all I heard was HIPS+YOU=WRONG & IT’S BEEN NOTED. For women who can move their hips, this sounds so trifling. “You just do this,” they say, and demonstrate for me, like I must have misunderstood and thought I was supposed to be wiggling my ears.
First the teacher isolated it: “Right, front, left, back, right, front…” That made sense, even when she speeded it up. “No problem,” I thought, “that Wiki really helped.” But then she said, “Great, now just incorporate that when you move. Step back, swivel right; step forward, swivel left, just like that.” And just like that, I was lost.
Also, there was a 10-year-old girl standing too close in front of me, with flashing sneakers on. I wanted to say, “Can you move forward a little?” but I didn’t want to be the bitchy lady who says that. Then I did say it, and I did feel bitchy, and then I really started to resent her. But when we got to the hip-moving part, the teacher told her, “Don’t worry, I know it feels strange. The boys in my kids class never want to move their hips, but I make them. Just keep doing it ‘til it feels normal.” So now I swivel when I’m brushing my teeth, and while I’m waiting for water to boil, and once I practiced at Hazel while Dave was trying on pants. They have big huge mirrors and no one was around.
There have been times over the past three weeks that I’ve said, “I don’t have time to do this class. I’m never going to be able to do it well, and I’ve got too much other stuff that’s more important to me, like writing and work, to be wasting time trying to figure out to do the Humpty.”
I skipped today’s class because my quads are so sore from yesterday’s Daily Burn weight ball class. But at about 3:30, just around the time I should have left for hip hop, I started a Vinyasa class that ended with my legs still hurting but in a better way than they did before. Scheherazade and Xeena have both signed up for dance classes, and Dave says he too wants to take a class in something he’s no good at. Three people (two in person and one on TV) have said that we store emotions in our hips, and I’ve been able to think, “Not all of us.” None of this has much to do with hip hop, except that it wouldn’t have happened without it.