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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Thoroughly Modern Gritizen

I’ve taken several adult basic ballet lessons at the Jo Emery Ballet School this summer and looked forward to last week’s lesson. But alas, I messed up my ankle a bit after running. So, after taking the week off, it was back to the dance last night with a healed ankle and something new. This Gritizen went full on mod squad.

Well, modern dance that is. Jo Emery, my savvy ballet teacher, encouraged me to try it. Taught by Amity Sloboda and frequented by dancers of all kinds, I was interested. But what was more interesting is after talking with Amity before class, we made the realization that she was well acquainted with my younger brother and his friends at Wilson High School. That’s the small town Tacoma stuff that you just can’t make up. After class I asked my regularly "memory challenged” brother if he remembered Amity. He remembered her readily. I can see why.

Pretty and smart as a whip, Amity achieved a perfect pitch of charming and laid back, but also had that ability to give us participants a push when we needed it. The dance warm-up was cool. I love the barre in ballet, but this warm up infused ballet, yoga techniques, balance, flexibility, and ab work and I dug it. And I was pleased I could do some of it, considering I was amongst many long time, advanced dancers and I was on the seriously older end of the age scale. Oddly, I wasn’t intimidated with my super beginner status amongst the advanced and the youthful; perhaps it’s derived from bravery, ignorance, or lunacy; I don’t know. But what I know for sure is that I liked the other dancers because they were amazing to watch, kind, helpful, and smiled a lot. They had fun and made it fun, so I had fun, too, even though my moves were like a water buffalo compared to their gazelles.

And speaking of my moves, there were a couple of moves that were “oh, hell no!” movements for me. However, I did have a spectacular “hell yeah!” moment. During warm up, there were crunches and push-ups, totally old school. I know I sound like a complete freak for applauding those classic drills, but I was reminded of my Wilson High School cross-country and track days, when I was a young, spirited, capable sporty risk-taker. What a truly delicious feeling.

And the music and floor work were also positively delicious and oh so “me.” With renditions of Pink Floyd to The Beatles, and stuff in-between, the dancing was a meld of everything—ballet, jazz, free form, and hip-hop. I learned this class has been working on a routine for weeks, and I could join as I was comfortable. When the steps were broken down into smaller bits and segments, I joined in to give it a go; it was fun. However, putting it all together, I just couldn’t remember all the steps, so I stepped back and observed. While I love the refinement, history, and clean lines of ballet, I was mesmerized by the energy and athleticism of modern. What a treat to see.

And when I got home from dance class, a treat awaited for me from my six year old daughter who wanted to hear about my dance class. She created an elaborate collage of dancers of all kinds, flowers, stars, hearts, and glitter. In the middle it read: “I love you even if you do bad.” After melting into puddle of love over that one, I realized, too, that I LOVE dance. Even if I do bad, but with the hope that maybe someday, I will be okay at it. Maybe even a little good.

It’s with that love, I am eager for the next journey!


Stephanie Frieze said...

Thanks for keeping us dancing, Kim! Some of us hope for a performance eventually. :-)

Kim Thompson said...

Oh, my!

I probably don't have the guts to solo, but perhaps if I coaxed some others to join!

Perhaps I should call the performance, "Gritzen Kim."

Lorraine Hart said...

Finger snaps from over here, jazzy baby cool!

Take good care of that ankle...we'll be dancing on Saturday!

Way to go Erin, for motivating your mummy so well!!

Kim Thompson said...

I can't wait to dance on Saturday! My ankle feels great actually. I am glad this was a brief issue.

And yes, Erin is my motivator. She always has the right words at the right times!

M. Sugimura said...

Kim -

When you are ready .... there's always YouTube!