Monday, 6 March 2017

Dancing with children

At the beginning of the year I joined a local Wednesday afternoon individual dance class (no partners required). My friend - same age as me - started attending last year and was keen for more adults to be there. Another friend - 10 years older, very sporty and competitive - joined with me in January. We're the oldest people in the class as the rest of our classmates are in primary school.

There are three 45-minute classes in a row that start shortly after school comes out. Our first time there we did all three to get a feel for the dance disciplines.

The first class includes styles called energy (like aerobics), slow, hip-hop and bhangra. The second is Latin American styles (including jive - my favourite) and the third is contemporary and jazz. I'm really enjoying the last class.

There are some magnificent images of contemporary dancers on Google images. I don't look like this when I dance; but I'd like to.
My friend, who has been there for a year, goes to the first two; my other friend and I go to the second two.

For the first few weeks I really felt the moves in my feet and Achilles. I've acclimatised to the movements; now I only get nailed by stiffness from the contemporary routines that have us rolling around on the floor and dropping into splits (I can split so I do the lesser 'jazz split'). For the moves that require us to kneel on the hard floor, we tuck socks into our 3/4 tights as protective knee pads.

What has charmed me most about the class is how we have been wonderfully accepted by our much, much younger classmates. They may call me 'Tannie' (a respectful term in Afrikaans meaning 'auntie' given to a woman older than you) but they also give me a warm greeting (often with a hug) and they readily interact with me in class. I sometimes bump into them in town, with their parents, and we give each other a friendly hello.

This class is sweet and refreshing and I certainly don't feel like I'm three decades older than my young classmates.

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