I take an adult dance class on Tuesday evenings. We follow a ballet class of five and six year olds all in pink leotards, white tights, high buns with straggly pieces. They leap and prance out of the class and rush into the waiting arms of the Mom or Dad who has come to get them. There are probably six of them. Add their ages together and you would not even reach forty years combined. Take two and a bit of us adults and you would hit one hundred easy. We are old. And not all that talented. But we make up for it with our earnest effort, our absolute enthusiasm and our ability to cheerlead for each other.
We attend these classes for a variety of reasons. Many of us have children who belong to the studio and we adore the instructor almost as deeply as our children love her. We wanted in on the fun! It’s also exercise. And a mental workout. Inexpensive therapy. Risk taking. A source of entertainment.
Each week our teacher demonstrates a few steps and then turns around to look at us. She takes in our confusion and slows it all down to take us through it count by count. Often, she starts with the feet and then adds the arms in later. Sometimes, we kind of get the arms or she sees enough potential that she believes that we might. Other times, she just tells us “freedom arms!” Let the music and the steps inform you. Let your arms move and swing in your own way.
She counts us though.
1 and 2. 3, 4. 5, 6 and 7 and 8.
She makes up hilarious sounds to match the movement.
5, 6, boom, boom cha.
We giggle. We shake our heads. We muddle through. She occasionally cheers, “Yes! You’re getting it!” Sometimes she pushes, “Give me something. Let me see it in your faces. Look up!”
I love Tuesday nights.
Last week, I taught some of my students some dance steps I had learned the night before. We had gone outside for a walk in the afternoon. The sun was shining. We weren’t going to go back in anytime soon. I demonstrated and a few girls were captivated. I instantly saw in them why I go to dance every week. The reckless. The happy. The joy of movement.
They drew dance paths with sidewalk chalk. The practiced again and again. They taught other kids. A few repeated steps with some bounces and jumps was a gift they could keep on giving.
The air filled up around us like a happiness bubble one of us drew on the pavement.
These girls taught me with their giggly leaps down the fluorescent pink chalk lines that it’s not about what you look like, it’s about how you feel.
When the dancing takes over, when you are moving and smiling and sailing through space. When you dance with your friends. When there is no judgement.
I am participating in the Slice of Life challenge to write and publish a post every day in March.
Slice of Life is hosted by Two Writing Teachers. I thank them for the community they provide. Read more slices here.
Love your freedom arms. I do hip hop class once a week. I am usually hiding in the back because I suck so bad, but sometimes I get freedom arms and don’t care how I look- as I pretend I’m Lady Gaga in the video of my mind. Great photos to highlight the feeling of the happy bubble 😊!
It’s all about the ind the mind feeling!
Carrie, I think I soared a little just reading these words:
“When the dancing takes over, when you are moving and smiling and sailing through space. When you dance with your friends. When there is no judgement.
“Freedom arms” are going with me after I leave your post. Thank you for sharing this joyous slice!
I am so thrilled that you found joy here!
Freedom arms! I have had a similar experience with swimming. My kids were all on a swim team. After years of picking up my kids at the pool, I decided to jump in and join a masters team. It’s not all pretty out there but as you say, moving with your friends feels good!
It really does!
There are a lot of things those young people teach us. I find it so sweet that you were teaching them dance steps and as your story goes on it’s you who learned something.
That is so often the case. These kids teach me so much every day.
Spectacular! Love learning more about you and this is such a happy slice. I took dance lessons with my husband before we were married and it was so much fun to learn. I miss those lessons.
I took dance classes pre kids and I am thrilled to be doing it again!
So joyful. I have always loved dance. I break into it as much as I break into song. Love thinking of you in those lessons. Grownups must take advantage of joy lest we forget how important it is to have freedom limbs.
Exactly! And there is lots of joy in dance!
I am a non-dancer who has felt that pull to try adult classes but has yet to step out of my comfort zone and take the plunge. Your post and descriptions make me consider it again, though. Oh, how I wish I had the freedom arms of childhood!
I highly recommend it! Really!
I so look forward to each new morning. I am loving your daily SOL blogs. Thanks so much for sharing them with us.
Thank you Kathy. This means a LOT to me.
Fun for you, fun for the kids, fun all around! This is such a happy post, I have a feeling my arms may feel freedom when I walk later today. 🙂
I sure hope so!
The air filled up around us like a happiness bubble “…how I love the thought of this!
I am all for dancing. Being over forty I have no interest in competing nor perfection. As you said -it’s exercise and fun. Cheers to the freedom arms!
So, so much fun!
What fun for you Carrie! I read a slice last night (I think Michelle H.) about taking risks. Taking dance lessons is definitely on that list of taking risks, so I admire you for that. But what I love is that you share those risks with your students and allow them yet another opportunity to take a risk — that’s non-academic, to build that trusting relationship. Just awesome. Keep dancing and throw those freedom arms up!
Thanks Michelle! It is a risk but the rewards are huge! Good for us to be humble as adults.
Imogene takes dancing lessons (4 1/2) & she has those freedom arms (I get it totally). I see her progress each week, a little tighter, a bit fewer tilts. It’s great that you take your own night for lessons, Carrie, but then share your learning with the students. Looks like they caught the dancing bug, and I’m not surprised.
They really did and it was so amazing to share with them.
What a great, life-affirming, energetic, happy post! Makes me want to add a dance class to my list-of-things-to-do!
Freedom arms! I love it! This is a beautiful, joyful post today. Thanks for sharing!
Thank you Robin.