When I was three, my mom forced me into dance class.
During her first ever parent teacher conference, my teacher told her I was “really smart and social” (thanks Miss Judy!) but “not even a little bit interested in physical activity.” (that bitch.)
Fearing that I would (*gasp*) get fat, my mom immediately drove from the Jewish Community Center to the nearest dance studio, lied about my age and signed me up for tap dancing. Every Wednesday for the next six years, instead of dancing, I would stare at myself in the mirror and force myself to cry on command so I could go home.
… Maybe Miss Judy was onto something regarding the whole “hates physical activity” thing, though I definitely could have had #madskillz as a child star.
Even after years of trying, dancing was just not for me. When I tried to grind with boys at high school (ok, middle school) dances, it never ended well. My boyfriend literally hid from me at junior prom (though that may have been unrelated), and when I tried to dance on a table at Standard Bingo earlier this year, the MC asked if I was ok because it looked like I was having a seizure.
Because of this… tumultuous history with getting in the groove, when one of my best friends asked me if I had any interest in getting up at 6am on a Friday morning to go to a Miami-inspired dance class, my initial reaction was, “LOL NO.” But then I remembered that my boyfriend has Channing-Tatum-as-Magic-Mike level moves, so I figured I should at least try to step up my game so as not to embarrass him (or myself, for that matter) on yet another wedding d-floor.
So at 6:55am on a pitch black Friday morning, I walked into 305 Fitness in the West Village feeling straight up terrified. The studio (located on West 8th St,) is totally pimped (pussied?) out with hot pink lights, neon, feminist pop-art (think: neon Rosie the Riveter with a middle finger in the air) and a ton of “SWEAT IS SEXY” merch. The studio itself looked like the inside of a Kylie Lip Kit — complete with paintings of sexy lips and Kourt K colored strobes.
The teacher, Bobby, is described on the company’s website as being “sure to make your heart (and your panties) melt.” LOL. I immediately knew I liked him based solely on the fact that he was wearing at hat that said. “Work, B***H.” There was also a casual DJ in the corner of the room, which was legit.
As soon as the class started (to the beat of some high-pulse techno madness) I knew I was in wayyyy over my head. Bobby had us rapid fire jumping/twirling/Britney Spears-ing (aka all of the moves that got me in trouble at junior prom) to the point of exhaustion. By the end of the first song, I was sweating like a pig and did not feel one bit like I was upping my sexiness game. I felt like I was 12 years old again trying and failing to keep up with a Darren’s Dance Grooves video and realizing that I was never going to be the next member of Destiny’s Child.
Halfway through class though, something happened — I just stopped giving a fuck, I let my bad dancer freak flag fly, and embraced my own terrible moves. My shimmies and hip swivels looked like I was being electrocuted, and I tripped over my own feet every few seconds (and once over someone else’s, which wasn’t great) but I didn’t care — I was having fun.
I watched my own hot mess happening in the mirror, and realized I looked like an identical cross between the backup dancers in Britney Spears’ “(You Drive Me) Crazy” video and Regina George’s little sister trying to replicate MTV Spring Break moves in front of the TV.
After an hour of helping me find my inner vixen, Bobby finished the class with (of course) a Beyoncé song. When she said “middle fingers up, put them hands high” you better be damn sure mine were in the air while I did a full air-humping spin while blowing kisses to myself in the mirror. I was the star of my own TRL music video, and I was feelin myself.
By the end of the class, I collapsed in front of the mirror in a pool of my own sweat. It was one of the most tiring workouts I’ve ever done in my life, but I never for one second got bored or wished it was over. Plus, I DIDN’T MAKE MYSELF CRY TO GET OUT OF IT, which makes me feel like I’m at least improving.