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Thursday, July 3, 2008

Dancing Getting Grittier

I embarked on my second adult basic ballet lesson at the Jo Emery Ballet School last night. Right before the evening class, I was dealing with the frustration of my older child’s repeated meltdowns and the guilt of my younger flexible child who was not getting enough attention from me. To and from swimming lessons and errands, my allergies raging and face itching, the day ended with me hoisting in our crab pot out of Commencement Bay. We raced home to deal with the crab, settle the kids, eat dinner, and get me to ballet. In all the crab excitement, I forgot to eat dinner. So, with hubby and son steaming the crab, I grabbed my daughter and out the door we fly down South 56th to the studio on South Washington Street.

Despite my rushed pace, I did manage to scavenger together more of a dance “look.” I had on layered tanks and cropped leggings. I was horrified to realize that my clothes had prominent grease stains on them, but didn't have time to change. My hair was literally tied in a knot behind my head. I was also sporting a large, lumpy, green-yellow bruise/contusion on my left shin, courtesy of an earlier week fall at Pt. Defiance’s Owen’s beach on a METAL staircase in a dress. I slipped and slammed my left shin so hard that I cried and thought I was going to vomit. Never mind that my underwear was exposed to the other beach goers and the contusion swelled to the size of a softball.

Obviously, I need ballet class. A little “grace” is necessary for my health!

To my pleasant surprise, there were more folks there for their health and well being at class: A couple of attractive twenty-somethings, some of the ballroom students, and a gymnast/dancer/biologist. They were nice and extraordinary dancers in confident dance clothes. I looked (and smelled) like a fishmonger. Oh well.

But I LOVED the barre warm-ups. In fact, I wish we could do that the whole time. I like the slow pace and the movements.

Then we moved to the floor. I vowed this time to watch carefully and copy the other dancers. My feet, beat, left/right, and rhythm was off most times. So, Jo shouted this out to the class: “Move with the music. Feel the music!” Something clicked! I need to stop “looking” and start “listening” and “feeling.” When I let myself go, I actually would get a few steps right! Jo played The Dave Brubeck Quartet’s “Take Five” one of my favorite jazz numbers. So, I did the imperfect and odd Take Five jig, but I was having fun. It also helped to have my daughter give me a thumb’s up for the effort! I told Erin I was so mesmerized by the other more experienced dancers. Erin said, “But Mom, you’re a dancer, too; you just need more practice!”

Who would have thought I’d learn all these valuable life lessons from a ballet session in the heart of Grit City?

So, after class, I went home to an explosion of pots and pans in my kitchen, a cold beer, fresh crab meat, a sense of fun, and a little dose of dancing magic.

Here’s “Take Five” for your listening enjoyment.


JosephMcG said...

Now, Kim, you've got it...
1. Wonderful post, great writing, very revealing (pun both unintentional and intentional)

2. the thumbs up from your child... she's got it now, but she can get melting potted and start moving into the watching/thinking rather than the doing/feeling... please keep her focused on what she KNOQWS NOW

3. Stick with doing and feeling... your body knows exactly what needs to be done... don't start watching yourself dancing... just go...

the crab
who managed to get out of the melting pot

Kim Thompson said...

Hello Sweet Joseph and "The Crab":

Thanks for affirming my life's lessons. And EXCELLENT advice about my kiddo, something I will store away in my heart.


kinsmed said...

I feel a little guilty for lurking around your posts. You really bring us in to your whole experience.
But, remember; write as if no one has seen your prior accounts. A reader would need to have seen your earlier post to get the first line in the second paragraph.
Apologies to all. We now return you to your regularly scheduled mayhem.

Kim Thompson said...


Good feedback from the other K--you make a good point!

And lurk away! And create mayhem. It's all good! (And I appreciate the compliment, too).


Stephanie Frieze said...

Keep dancin', Kim Honey!

Kinsmed, keep commenting!

Kim Thompson said...

Oh, yeah! I shall dance the summer away!