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Mad Scientess Jane Expat

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You can't let the little pricks generation-gap you. [20050217|16:21]
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
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I went to my first street dance class last night, at Pineapple Dance Studios, in an attempt to find a new hobby.

I always considered myself a decent dancer. I have a sense of rhythm. I get my share of compliments when I dance free-form. While not a hard-core athlete, I've committed fair swaths of time in my life to gymnastics, ballet, capoeira, tai chi (Yang and Chen styles), rock-climbing and just plain working out (cardio and weight-bearing exercise). I'm rarely afraid to get on the floor at any nightclub, with the exception of Ruby Tuesday's, a hip-hop club here in London that a lot of breakdancers go to. This probably should have told me something.

I arrived about half an hour before the class was supposed to start and paid the £4 daily membership fee. (Before 5 pm, it's £2.) The number of people in the reception area and the changing rooms overwhelmed me at first. From what the instructor said later about her class schedule, I'd assume it's that way more or less all the time except during the day and on Monday evenings. I wandered around for a bit, peering into the studios to watch classes and felt slightly relieved, as it didn't seem that many of those were full. I didn't take into account, though, that those were intermediate and advanced level classes.

The instructor started the class by collecting the fee (£6), which took about five minutes because the class size was completely uncontrolled. There must have been fifty or sixty people packed into the 20'x15' room. There really wasn't enough space for that many "beginners," especially since the studio doesn't provide lockers. Everyone left their backpacks and coats lying around the edges of the studio, which reduced the usable area of the room even further. I admit, I resented the use of that amount of class time for collection of dues since it was only an hour long anyway. She whipped us through a five-minute warm-up and then taught us a four 8-count dance routine in forty minutes.

I put beginners in quotation marks earlier because, while forty minutes might be enough for people with a background in dance to learn so short a routine (and they did, which was intimidating to the actual beginners), it is not appropriate for the absolute beginner at all. I learned all the moves – I can still remember the entire routine – but I could not do them at the speed required to match the beat of even the slowest music that she used. She also confused the class more than once by telling us to start from one place in the routine and then actually demonstrating it from another. A significant percentage of students were falling over one another because of the lack of space and their inability to keep up. Although I was relieved to be more coordinated than that, it was still pretty frustrating.

If my inability to keep up weren't already humiliating enough, I felt, for the first time in my life, pretty goddamn ancient in this class. I was twice as old as the youngest of the attendees and probably a good five to ten years older than the majority. I don't want to let that deter me. Most people seem to guesstimate me at about five years younger than I am anyway.

I doubt I'd take the same class again. I might go back on a quieter night to try a different class, but overall I was not terribly impressed. It was expensive, it was much too crowded and it was badly paced (for me, anyway). My quest for a new hobby continues.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: opheliablue
2005-02-17 16:29 (UTC)
Actually, reading this post reminds me that I went there (even though it was *ahem* about 20 years ago - it was expensive and over crowded. If it was bad like that then, I can only imagine what it must be like now.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2005-02-17 16:42 (UTC)
Did it smell like an armpit then? 'Cause it sure does now.

I'm thinking about trying this place next. Have you been there?

There's a Tai Chi class that's ridiculously near my house, but it runs on an eleven week cycle and they are in the second half of it right now, so I'll have to wait until March. Feh.
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[User Picture]From: opheliablue
2005-02-17 16:46 (UTC)
I don't remember an armpit smell. To be honest, I think I was too busy being horrified at seeing myself in huge mirrors constantly.

I haven't been to that other place - it looks quite good from the website. Hope you have better luck if you go there!
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[User Picture]From: opheliablue
2005-02-17 16:31 (UTC)
reminds that WHEN I went there....I know I already said I'd been there. *rolls eyes* Not that I'm suggesting you can remember everything I write :P Although don't think I believed you when you said you didn't know I had a journal - I know really that you print it all off and stick it on your bedroom walls.

You still haven't told me your username - how am I supposed to add you as a friend?? :P You hate me don't you? That's why you haven't told me. Fine. I'll get over it, perhaps *sobs*
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2005-02-17 16:46 (UTC)
When I receive comment notifications, they say "Histrionica the Mundane wrote blah dee blah," so I'm guessing "Histrionica the Mundane" is my username? Maybe?
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[User Picture]From: opheliablue
2005-02-17 16:50 (UTC)
THANK YOU.

Yes, I'm sure that must be your username.

Wooohooo, I can add you now! I can't wait. I will be able to read your journal and comment in it!!
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[User Picture]From: coredumper
2005-02-17 17:30 (UTC)
Haha! the Laibach kitten avatar is rad!!!




OMG, did i just say "rad"?
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2005-02-18 09:04 (UTC)
Oh my. Your Californianness is showing.
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[User Picture]From: danaid_luv
2005-02-17 18:59 (UTC)
Well da*mn it--it seemed like a great idea, but as you said, maybe a less crowded night would be better. Don't at all feel intimidated by your age, or their lack thereof. You *do* look young. You look...hip. You look full of it. This'll sound incredibly elitist, but it might be different if you had a half-grown out perm, a paunch, and three left feet.

But I understand the irritation w/ class size. When I regularly clubbed, we'd show up early to have maximum floor space. I'm not a flailer, but da*mn it, I don't want to shuffle in my designated 1'x1' square and smell pits.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2005-02-21 22:29 (UTC)
Woo hoo! Too bad I wasn't in your neck of the woods during your regular dancing days. I have the feeling we're pretty aligned in our dancing philosophies.
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[User Picture]From: danaid_luv
2005-02-22 23:26 (UTC)
That would have been loads of fun, absolutely. You know, as long as you were ok w/ drag queens. *chuckling*

It's been so long now, and I don't see myself having the opportunity any time in the near future--Hmm... I sometimes still get a club-craving. From 98-01', my cousin (attictroll) & I probably only missed 6-7 friday nights a year. We took turns fending the natives off of one another, tho' truth be told, due to the nature of the club, I had to do a lot more work than him/he?. I'm sure we left a lot of people wondering about our specific roles--we were obviously together, but never touchy-feely unless someone started sniffing too close.

Ahhh...good times.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2005-02-24 09:27 (UTC)
I remember the first time I saw a drag queen - at least, the first time I understood fully that the person's sex and chosen gender didn't match. I went into the women's bathroom of some dodgy nightclub, and s/he was in there. I paused for a second, thought, "Huh. Well, it's not like s/he is going in the stall with me," and went about my business. ;-)
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[User Picture]From: danaid_luv
2005-02-24 18:39 (UTC)
Yup. We were lucky in that the head DragQueen at our club was a real kick-in-the-butt. S/he didn't put on airs and would go for the laugh during the show, and even after. We got on a dual breast-groping, first-name basis. *s* I've been to a few other clubs, or even dealing with the lesser queens there, where they seem to channel all of the worst characteristics of the females they're trying to emulate--bitchy, catty, drama-ful. Oi.
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[User Picture]From: smallfurry
2005-02-21 22:19 (UTC)

I think I've been gapped...

What's street dancing?
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2005-02-21 22:26 (UTC)

Heh.

It's kind of a cross between type of choreography you see in music videos, and the kind of thing you see when you go to a hip-hop or jungle/drum-n-bass club from the really good dancers.
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