dance, dance, dance

Summer means that all the summer workshops in the various disciplines will be available starting next week after the Easter holidays. I’ve had my eyes set on Daloy Dance School for the past two months since they moved locations and took a pause in teaching dance classes from February and March. On April 6, they start their summer programs and I’m just raring to go. I’ve been working like a beast the past month and I’m dying to get back in the studio and learning and moving again.

I will admit that Daloy’s move to Erehwon Center for the Arts scares me because I am not familiar with the area and it’s quite far off from where I am but I’ve really, really enjoyed their classes and I like the way they teach their classes and I want to go back so badly. I’m going to use summer and take advantage of less traffic (because school will be out) and hopefully, get so used to the drive that it won’t matter anymore when school gets back in June.

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But I love it. I want to go back to dancing. And this summer schedule means that if work comes up, I have another day to take another class that I’m interested in. I want to try out a Jazz class just to see how it differs from Contemporary. I also want to invest more time at an Improv class and see if that’s more my thing, though I love taking up Contemporary. I’m a little scared because I’ve been taking a lot of classes with Jared for Contemporary and I have never taken classes with Al Garcia yet; but he’s a fantastic dancer too. I hope he isn’t strict but it would be great to experience a different style altogether.

There are just so many variations that I can take and so this is really going to be a summer filled with dancing, if I can help it. I hope the traffic won’t be bad and that it will work out for me.

I’m going to be throwing myself into a lot of creative work the next few months and the dance classes will really help me stretch myself creatively. I am finding ways to connect the dance process with my writing process. By articulating my difficulties in learning how to dance, I am breaking it down and trying to apply the same process and applying it to writing. Hopefully, I can set it up and turn it into a sort of writing module or manual that I can work with.

I better see if there has been any previous literature on that yet.

But, (not so) secretly, the dancing is just really for me and my four-year-old self who has always wanted to be a dancer and this is my gift to my inner child. Of all the physical activities I’ve done, dancing is the only one that gave me any real freedom and joy. It’s the only physical activity that I can shut myself off and still be me. It is the destruction of all the horrible parts of me and the only parts that remain are the good ones.

When I get into that zone, all the good stuff get heightened and this feeling of freedom just runs through my body’s cellular structure like electricity and for a brief moment, I am completely disconnected to the parts of me that feel bad or awful. Even when I choose to be dancing my pain away, it becomes easier.

I’m a writer and I’ve been working professionally as a writer since I was 14 years old and there are things I cannot articulate in words but I can articulate when I lock myself up in my room, put on a song, and just start moving. It can take me two to three long, compound-complex sentences to explain a feeling that I can articulate eloquently with a look and a swaying of my arm.

Adult Beginner's Contemporary class with Jared Luna (taken last year); I was so tired, I didn't even realise my foot placement was all wrong (photo taken from Daloy Dance School's FB account)

Adult Beginner’s Contemporary class with Jared Luna (taken last year); I was so tired, I didn’t even realise my foot placement was all wrong (photo taken from Daloy Dance School’s FB account)

I have no real idea if it even looks good or it conveys the message that is in me but I dance for myself. I’m not a performer or a professional dancer, so that is not a consideration for me at all when I dance. I know what I’m saying and that’s enough.

There are people who are saying that I am “pushing myself” too hard and that I should take it easy. There are people who say that I shouldn’t put my body through this and that I shouldn’t take the classes because I’m sick and that I am the kind of person who pushes myself to my limits which isn’t good for me because of my condition (HIV).

They don’t understand that the exercise is good for me; that people with HIV should engage themselves in exercise because it builds the immune system and it will make our bodies stronger to fight further infection. There are people living with HIV who are into dragon boat racing, Crossfit, triathlons, and other extreme sports. Dancing, like yoga, is not just aerobic and muscle building (I think) but it is also meditative and a perfect stress reliever for me because the one hour and a half that I am in class, I just don’t give a fuck about any of the things that is causing me stress and I’m just the happiest motherfucker alive.

Even when I don’t get the choreography right away and I’m struggling getting my body to move the way I’m supposed to, deep down inside, I’m happy because I’m moving and I’m in a room with other people who love it and are dancing just like me.

I used to have the best time in clubs back in the day when everyone was in the dance floor just losing themselves to the music. I was there, right at the centre, and just losing it and feeling free. Nowadays, people really just stand around or, at the most, bounce up and down and take selfies. Boring. It’s bullshit. I want to be surrounded by other dancers who are just lost in the beat and the melody and the rhythm.

April 6, hopefully, I’ll be behind the wheel of my brother’s car and heading out to Erehwon Center for the Arts and getting ready to dance. April 6, I hope I’m in that studio and itching and scared that the two month absence of dance class hasn’t put my body back to zero and I have to start from scratch (I’m going to start doing yoga on my Yogify app twice a day to get back in shape and to stay limber). April 6, I hope that when the class starts, I’m on the second row of that dancer’s line and I can feel the rush of energy coursing through my body and ready to move.

I’m ready. I want this. It starts next week.

 

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