Susie’s first dance class experience….
Walking into Future Dance Center for the first time in September 2007, my heart began to beat quickly when I looked through the glass door at the other students waiting for class to start. Maybe some of it was due to nerves, but it was mostly excitement! I couldn’t wait to get into class and kill it. Of course, I had my best friend Abby by my side, as this was on the list of things we wanted to do together. And I always enjoy new things more when I have someone to experience them with. I learned the routine and felt like a BO$$. Hair flips and body rolls all day! I couldn’t have danced any better than I did that night. Or so I thought. Looking back after 9 years of experience and growth with dance, I realize that I was actually not as good as I could have been. I lacked a groove and a sense of feel for the movement. But you know what? That’s OK. If I didn’t decide to take that step into my first dance class 9 years ago, I definitely would not be where I am today.
Rishone’s first dance class experience….
I was 25 when I walked into my first Hip Hop Class. I had been dancing my whole life prior but never had the opportunity to be a student. I mean, I enjoyed dancing in night clubs, weddings, and the occasional freestyle battle, but the thought of leaning choreography from someone else was scary yet also exhilarating.
Anyway, here I was walking into Free Soul Dance Studio freshly confident in my ability to move but absolutely terrified in my ability to follow someone else’s movement. This was something I always wanted to do, and it was finally time. I mentally told myself that there was no turning back at this point, and trust me, I had a fraction of a moment in which I thought about it just watching. However, we stretched and in the process, I discovered I was really good at not being flexible.
We began a routine to Jamie Fox’s ‘Blame it on the Alcohol’, and the first couple ticks demonstrated by Michael Burton had me forever hooked. Overall, I did horrendous that class. Even though I danced and taught aerobics, learning choreography was a new experience I knew nothing about. I was literally like a baby learning how to control my limbs so they moved like my teacher. Then there were transition steps that I was missing the visual and mental Qs for. It was just a hot mess, but it was so fun and exciting that I wanted more even when the class ended. I wanted to figure out what I was doing wrong, practice till I had it like the thriller routine, and then return to show everyone that I wasn’t as terrible as I was that day in class.
Finally, class ended, and I had to give the teacher respect for his professionalism and ability to teach his style/own brand of hip hop movement. I gained a brand new level of respect for dance and dancers that grew up in a traditional studio learning choreography. That evening, I wished I was 5 again and my mother enrolled me in dance instead of piano lessons which lasted 1 day before I quit (because the teacher’s house smelled funny). From that point on, my relationship with Hip Hop dance elevated to love, and I have been like a faithful partner ever since. That is a feeling I wish every person that would like to take a chance on Hip Hop could experience for themselves.
So what does this mean for you?
Looking at both of our stories, we realize something important: You don’t need to be amazing at your first go around at something. You don’t even need to be good. You just need to show up and be open to trying something new. You never know where it will take you. For us, dance has brought about new friendships and experiences that never would have happened otherwise. In addition to dance being a creative outlet that we love, it has also been a great tool for us to stay in shape. But because dance brings life into our world, we don’t see it as a labor-intensive workout. It’s simply fun, plus with consistency, you can achieve any fitness level of your choice.
So we encourage you! Take that painting class that your friend told you they loved so much. Join the intramural basketball team that you always thought would be fun. Look up your favorite meal on YouTube and learn how to make it. Whatever it may be that you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t tried yet, jump on it! And it is OK if you’re not good at first. Focus on the process and the progress, not the perfection. Life is a journey, but you have to take a step (in any direction) to make that journey a reality.
We want to hear from you! Is there anything that you’ve always wanted to try? Or what have you taken a chance on in life? How has it changed your perspective?