I’m not sure that there has been a day that’s gone by in which I haven’t danced.
For all my thirty-one years on this planet, I’ve jigged and jived and boogied along, through the good, the bad and even just the bland (my feet tapping about under the table to music only existing in my head throughout some of the most mind-numbing meetings that have ever existed).
The joy that I feel when moving to music compares to nothing else, all my favourite memories involve me busting a move, so I am sure you’d be surprised to hear me say that for years and years I’ve been terrified to engage with formal dance classes.
As kid I’d get my groove on every year for my drama school’s end of year performance but at that time I all about the ‘serious’ acting – I wasn’t in it for the jubilant musical theatre numbers that we were forced to perform to keep our parents happy. When I stopped doing drama classes, I stopped engaging with any form of structured dance class and I didn’t feel like I’d lost anything whatsoever. I was, however, always the first and always the most sober on a sweaty dance floor at teenage parties.
Friends of mine did dance classes outside of school and they just seemed too cool. I was not cool, a feeling that permeated deep down into my soul, rippling through all my extremities. I never felt like I’d be accepted into any form of dance class – they were for effortlessly cool girls who looked a way that I felt I didn’t. But boy was I wrong, and I wish I’d known it sooner.
I found freeform dancing in my early 20s through the incredible No Lights No Lycra, a space that has stolen my heart a million times over, but when the pandemic hit, I realised that I needed something a little more; a connection, a community, an identity, and a motivation.
I’d encountered Mix Tape and the gorgeous Annabella a few years prior when conducting a photoshoot and it was love at first sight– but sometimes a love that strong can be intimidating! It took me until we were forced to join classes via zoom for me to give it a red hot go and immediately, I was hooked. All though 2020 I sweated up a storm most weeknights and all Saturday morning as I danced along to 80s hits and booty shakin RnB bangers. I loved every second of it, and even on the days when I felt like the weight of the world had me down, if I could manage to get up, tune in and bust it out, I knew I’d feel a million times better.
As the world began to return to a semblance of normal, I started to get scared – would I lose the brilliant experience that I’d gained throughout the year? Would I be able to hack it at an in-person class away from the safety of my bedroom? I swallowed down my fears and pulled together my post isolation courage to push me along and signed up to an in-person session and guess what? It was even more fun than via Zoom.
As 2021 kicked into gear I wanted to go full in – I signed up to two performance classes and worked my way towards a cute little concert with new pals that I’d met along the way. It was, without a doubt the best way I could have kicked off the year. I should never have been intimidated by those dance classes way back when because guess what? Women are the best and women cheering each other on in the way that we all did as we worked towards and then pulled off an awesome performance was just the most brilliant feeling. I am so grateful that I was able to experience that, learn from that and know that I now want to go back and do it time and time again.
Repeated lockdowns have meant that we needed to cancel our second performance course of the year and return to zoom classes, but knowing that I can tune in and dance it out has made what is otherwise a pretty shitty situation pretty darn awesome for the fifty or so minutes that the tunes are blarring, the moves are happening and the zoom is the place to be.