Hello friends, it’s been a while, right? My summer has been crazy. I organized a baby shower all of June for one of my oldest friends and then I was in California for the first three weeks of July and just got back at the end of last week! I will catch you up on both in my next few entries but I wanted to write about dance because I started to before everything got really busy, but then had writers block about it. So hopefully today I’ll be able to explain it without going in circles.
I’m going to start this story not at the beginning, but more toward the end. I’ve been attending Danceaton off and on for about three years. Here’s an example of what we do in class:
So, as you can see it’s like a fun, aerobic hip hop class that’s like a party every time I exercise. I started going more regularly when I moved back from Baltimore, mostly because it exploded across the metroplex while I was gone and started offering classes every day of the week.
When I first started to go, I was pretty intimidated. People get there really early to claim their spot. The people at the front of the class always knew the dances really well, they were loud, and always looked like they were having so much fun. Additionally, you may have noticed there’s a stage at the front of the room. The teacher, Gaby, encourages people to get up there and dance with her. I would see the people in the front jump on stage and lead the class. I remember thinking that it looked like fun, but I would never have the courage to do it.
In January, I stood off to the side and in the back. I probably went four to five times a week and stayed in that one spot, even after I knew a lot of the dances pretty well. The room has floor to ceiling mirrors in the front and I’ve never liked to look at myself while I’m working out so I was pretty content with my spot at the time. I think I moved to the middle of the room around the end of February, after I participated in something I had always wanted to do that Danceaton just happened to organize…a flash mob!
The flash mob was fun, but I still didn’t really know anyone and I wanted that to change. I talked it over with my therapist, actually. I told her about dance and how fun it was but that I wanted to meet people in the class but didn’t know how to approach it. She suggested that I challenge myself to stop blending in and move closer to the front.
I did eventually move to the front…on the side, and was forced to look at myself in the mirror. I was pretty much expecting to see the worst, but you know what? The more I looked at myself, the more I started liking what I saw. I started standing in the front and to the side for every class that week. Soon after, Gaby taught us a dance in which she wanted the two halves of the class to “battle” each other. I participated, and afterward, a really awesome chic named Elizabeth invited me out to coffee with a few other people from Danceaton. I went and was introduced to a lot of the people I recognized from the front row and the stage!
What a fun bunch they are, too. I started going to coffee regularly and getting to know them better and I have so much fun both in and out of class! It’s been a great change for me, life is a lot more fun and a lot less lonely. It’s also great to be around people who build each other up and who encourage and support each other both in fitness and in life.
That being said, I finally worked up the courage to get on the stage to do a song. I was really nervous but as soon as I started walking up there, I heard cheers and shouts of encouragement. That made it so much easier! These days I go on stage at least once a class! I never thought I would do it, yet here I am.
I have to credit Danceaton with helping me build my confidence in myself from scratch. Gaby is always encouraging and motivating the class to “let go,” which I have always taken as, let go of my stress, let go of my worries, fears, doubts, whatever it is that weighs on me, LET IT GO. My mom used to say that to me all the time and I still need to hear it.
The class has changed my life, I went from not even being able to stand my own reflection to having the confidence to dance in front of everyone. I’ve met so many great new friends, and I’m just really thankful that it’s a part of my life. I love doing flash mobs and getting up obnoxiously early to dance on TV. I love starting and ending my day with dance and I often dread the days when I finally get a real job and won’t be able to go as often because it’s such a positive part of my existence.
If you live in the Dallas area and ever want to check it out, Danceaton is offered at several different 24 Hour Fitness locations. Or you can just come with me! Til next time…