Something I’ve learned about getting older is it gets harder and harder to live the way you did when you were young. Gone are the days when you could eat McDonalds regularly and not have your body get angry about it later. Gone are the days when you could wake up at 6AM, go to school, come home, do homework, run around and play, have dinner, run around and play some more and then still not be tired. Also out of the question are all-nighters in college and long nights that preceded long days.
The busier I have gotten with my job, the more I’ve had to put my own health on the back burner. Fortunately, my metabolism has kept up with my diet, but I haven’t been exercising as much as I know I should, which leaves me sluggish by 3PM. I’ve been trying to take that part of my life back by hiking and walking more, but I felt like it wasn’t quite enough and I started talking to a couple of friends about getting into better shape. We decided together to take an adult tap class, which we started this past Thursday at The Dance Class.
I had taken tap and ballet classes when I was little, so I thought I’d be able to pick it up quickly. Here’s what I learned at my first class:
1.) My right leg is amazing. It can follow any steps from the instructors. My left leg, however, does not want to move.
2.) The “shuffle tap” move has not changed in decades. It’s the one thing I remember from my very first tap class.
3.) Don’t stand next to the women who have taken the adult tap class before. Even though you learn different routines, they have more skill. Although they are completely kind and encouraging, they will make you feel like an awkward penguin.
4.) Even though standing in the front and center of the mirror sounds intimidating, do it. You’ll do better if you can see yourself…and if you do horribly, you’ll get a good laugh.
5.) When asked to be the line leader while doing skills across the floor, don’t be scared. Everyone is behind you, working on their steps. But if you’re last, everyone will be done with their steps and will be watching you.
6.) It’s ok if you mess up. There was one skill that I found to be challenging. The instructors had asked us to pair up and go across the floor performing a sequenced step that I just could not get. In fact, the woman who I had paired with was already across the floor and I was still somewhere in the middle of the room. Was it a little embarrassing? Yes, just a little. But I doubt that anyone will remember next week…if they do, they’re the ones who need to get a life.
7.) Tap shoes are cool. Tap tap tap. Slap slap slap.
8.) Trying new things is a great way to meet new people. I met a lovely woman at my first class whose daughter takes classes at the same studio. She was part of her high school dance team, and she wanted to get back into dancing. (Sounds a lot like me.) At the end of class, she asked me, “Do you feel a little humbled.” I nodded. I did. It was a good place to be.
9.) When considering trying something new, ask yourself “What’s the worst that can happen?” I asked myself that question when I started this class. I figured that the worst that can happen is that I briefly embarrass myself in front of a dozen of people who I will probably never see again and who aren’t judging me. Not bad. Not bad at all. (Although I did mention to my best friend the possibility of spraining an ankle. She replied, “If you’re gonna sprain an ankle, you probably shouldn’t be tapping…” So encouraging, that one.)
10.) You’re never too old to pick up new skills. Maybe I can pick up that all nighter thing again…But probably not. Ha!
I’m so excited to see where the next classes take me. I laughed when I hear there’s going to be a recital at the end. The prospect of being on stage dancing is a little bit nerve wracking, but hey…you may as well enjoy it while you can, right?