Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Watch Out Maddie, There's a New Dancer in Town

Tap tap tap. Is this thing on? Hello? Okay, okay so I know I totally vanished off the face of the blogosphere (is that even a word?)  I could give you my reasons but they are sad and depressing and who the hell needs that, right? Anyways, I'm back and better than ever with a few (a lot) more grey hairs than I had a year ago.

First off, I lost about forty pounds.  At least half of it was stress related, but hell, I'll take it.  With the weight loss came a big transformation.  As my depression started to lift, I started focusing on myself and my needs since everything has been nothing but kids, kids, kids for the last eighteen years (oh yeah, I have an 18 year old now…gulp).

I danced a teeny tiny bit in college and loved it, but then I got pregnant with child number three and pregnant women and ballet leotards don't mix, so I quit. I didn't think I'd ever get to take a dance class ever again, but recently I started looking around and there are actually quite a few options for beginner adults who want to learn to dance. Lucky for me, a friend said she also wanted to take dance classes, so we signed up together which made it a little less intimidating.

Although I signed up a couple of weeks before my first class started, I waited until the day of my first class to buy my dance gear. Yes, I'm a procrastinator of the worst kind (just ask my children when their school supplies or Halloween costumes are purchased). There is one main dance wear store in our city that is pretty much the motherlode of all things dance (tap, jazz, ballet, Zumba, gymnastics, probably even stripper attire although I didn't look--next visit).

Since I'm a big chicken and was too afraid to walk into the dance wear store myself, I forced my husband and two young boys to come with me. Much less stressful than going alone, right? Yeah. Sometimes these things sound better in my head than in reality.  Of course the boys thought it was great fun running around the circular racks grabbing sequined hats and feathered boas while I stumbled around the store being completely ignored by two employees who looked like actual professional dancers…tall, thin, elegant, and oblivious to the fact that I'm stumbling around their store like a husband lost in a lingerie shop on Valentine's Day.

I feel your pain Julia Roberts. We are the same.  
After I gathered up some nerve I walked up to the counter and said, "I need help" and one of them took pity on me and said, "Okay, let's get you fitted for shoes."  Of course I just had to wear my black flats without socks that smell so bad that you can't take them off without tossing them into the back of the closet, shutting the door and running away.  They are beyond Odor Eaters. They really should be burned, but I'm pretty sure they are flame retardant at this point. I have no doubt that my feet were disgusting and smelly but at this point I had bigger problems. Like how I was going to squeeze my sweaty, swollen foot into a slipper that was crinkled up to look like an elf shoe made to fit a Build a Bear.  I did manage to get my foot into the shoe, but my toes curled up and the thought of dancing in them made me a little stabby. So she handed me another crinkled up elf shoe that honestly looked the same size as the previous elf shoe, but she swore it was bigger and this time my toe went to the end of the shoe which I guess is how they are supposed to fit. Whatever. I did briefly notice that there were two elastic straps hanging out, but I'll explain more on that later. 

After the shoes she said, "Now you just need to go find something comfortable to wear" and went back behind the counter.  Yeah, she totally abandoned me. Bitch. I looked out into a sea of various colored strappy spandex items and honestly felt like I was going to cry as I thumbed through racks and racks of leotards that claimed to be adult sized, but looked like they had a better chance of fitting my five year old.  Let's just say that the majority of these leotards are not cut for women with breasts, especially women like myself who breastfed four babies if you know what I'm saying. Mmmhhhhmmm. 

I finally found the plain, more modest looking black cotton leotards that didn't look totally Mormon, but at least allowed me to wear a bra and then grabbed some stretchy pants. I was going to buy some pink tights and a wrap around skirt but after trying on the first leotard with some short shorts, I'm glad I didn't. Did you know that they make about a million variations of tights? It's really kind of ridiculous. My husband and sons had already abandoned me at the dance store at this point so I ended up buying the first outfit that didn't give me a wedgie and left. Who am I kidding? They ALL gave me a wedgie.  

When I got home I still had a couple of hours left until class. I tried on my shoes and couldn't for the life of me figure out how to tie the elastic straps. First I tried to criss cross the straps and tie them behind my ankle. Not only did my foot look like a pig in a blanket, but I'm pretty sure I was mere seconds away from amputation, as my foot started to turn fifty shades of purple. I wondered if dancers just didn't have ankles? Or maybe I  had cankles?  

In a panic I started YouTubing things like, "How do you tie ballet shoes?" Several video tutorials popped up. Thank goodness for YouTube for realizing that people are stupid. It took a while but sure enough I found a video with the exact same brand of shoes that I had purchased and it said, "How to sew the elastic straps on your child's ballet slippers" SEW? Say what? Of course the black swan at the dance store failed to mention anything about sewing as I would've laughed in her face. Or perhaps she did, but I was too busy focusing on the fact that my toes were morphing into curly fries to notice. Either way I broke into a cold sweat. 

This is some bullshit. 
I gathered up my sewing supplies and began to sew. It took me over an hour to sew down the straps on shoe number one but I did it. As I shoved my sweaty, swollen foot back into my elf shoe, my heart sank. I sewed the straps on backwards.  No, really. I did. 

I threw the shoe across the room and started to think maybe I should take up a different hobby. A book club was sounding pretty darn good at that moment.  I cut the threads and started over. I finished the shoes just in time as my husband was calling me on his way home from work to ask if our daughter was ready for soccer practice. Daughter? Wait, I have kids? CRAP! Yeah, that was my reaction as I was so focused on sewing my shoes, I pretty much forgot that I had a child who was now late for practice. 

The next hour was complete chaos but somehow the husband and kids made it to soccer practice, while I made it to the dance studio, found my friends and got ready for class. Since it was listed as a "beginner's class" I was expecting that we would introduce ourselves, learn the positions (which I had long since forgotten) and take things slow and easy. Nope. Not at all how things went.  As soon as we set down our purses, it was pretty much "Okay ladies, line up at the barre and repeat these sequences after me" as she rattled off about fifty moves at a hundred miles an hour, followed by, "And then we'll turn and do it on the other side. Got it?" 

Beginner's class my ass. 

I briefly contemplated spraining my own ankle in a feeble attempt to escape any further humiliation or injury. Three of the ladies in the group were experienced dancers, who had multiple years of experience. The three of us friends who signed up together? Not so much. I'm sure we looked like an SNL skit but we hung in there until the very end, even when she was yelling out foreign words to us like, "fondu" which to me means "Oh cool we're going to the Melting Pot to dip some bread and shit into a steaming hot bowl of melted cheese" but FYI that's not what it means at all in ballet terms. 

After class I couldn't even walk down the stairs. My legs felt like Jello Pudding Pops. The next day was even worse, but today, I'm feeling okay.  I'm actually looking forward to my next class. I'm not giving up and I will become a ballerina dammit, even if it kills me. 

Maybe for Sia's next music video she will need a future version of herself in which she's a bit older, saggier mom to multiple kids, sitting in the carpool lane in her pajamas eating two day old soggy crackers out of her daughter's lunch box. If that's the case then watch out Maddie Ziegler cause I totally got this. 

My before class photo and after class photo
and yes, I should've gone to the bar after class and 
maybe I would've had I been able to feel my legs...