Thursday, April 25, 2013

Wild Hair

In colloquial American English, a "wild hair" is defined by the Urban Dictionary as a "Sudden decision that is not expected."

This afternoon at work, after successfully wrestling a particularly gnarly problem into submission, I suddenly wanted to be doing something that did not bear the slightest resemblance to work. Dance class fit the bill perfectly. I hadn't been to my Thursday class since February (has it really been that long?) and this would give me a chance to catch up socially too. I went home, changed into clean gear, and arrived for class about 10 minutes early. Things did not go quite as expected after that.

The regular instructor was off somewhere attending a wedding which spoiled my chance to catch up with her. I did enjoy chatting with her substitute for a bit, as I've had class with her before and like her. With about 5 minutes to go I reached into my bag for my slippers and came up empty: I'd left them at home. It's only a mile or so each way, but with the evening traffic in full flow I didn't get back until class was already underway.

Shortly after I arrived for the second time our regularly late arrival appeared. It's really nice to have someone so excited to see me, and we exchanged big hugs. Later we did a bunch of catching up.

I'm not sure what happened before I got there, but this class was a weird mix of ballet and something like Jazzercise. I'm something of a traditionalist, but I can go with the flow when necessary. After the barre we did some grande battements followed by some jumps. The jumps started with rapidly bouncing lightly with feet flat on the floor, then just the heels coming off, then just high enough for the whole foot to clear the floor, and ending up as high as possible with both feet coming up as in a pas de chat. It looked like something out of a Russian folk dance. Whatever it was, it certainly was aerobic. And tiring. Apparently this was the petite allegro portion of class.

We then did some turns across the floor. With two newbies and two more experienced students, the instructor would demo the combination for everyone, have us all try it once, then focus on the newbies. That left me and the Late Arrival to go at full speed while the others worked more slowly. To my surprise (and I'm not just being modest) I kept up with L.A. pretty well. We moved in parallel the width of the room in chaînés turns both right and left. She was a little more confident in piqué turns than I was, but I kept up with the music the second time through.

After turns we did some combinations. I found I could do the combination reasonably well, but mentally I wasn't prepared to transition from the last step back to the first. It's that planning thing, I guess. I think once I get to the point of being able to do combinations without having to concentrate on each step I'll have mental bandwidth to think ahead.

All in all a weird but fun class that got me moving without the intensity that's been sending my leg into spasms. Even so I felt stiff enough an hour later to pull the cold pack out of the freezer and apply it to the most trouble-prone spots while I've been writing.

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