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Dude, there is a lesson for just about everything on

Need to learn how to click your heels a la jolly leprechaun style? Here you go.

Why am I even looking up Irish heel clicks to begin with? Maybe because I was doing them this past Friday, during 5Rhythms. Despite telling myself that I needed to tone down my movement during class and take it easy (my hip was acting up), there was this twangy upbeat techno country song playing–sounded kind of like “Cotton Eyed Joe” on speed–and…and…I just couldn’t help it. I pictured myself with a cowboy hat on my head and bandana around my neck, clicking my spurs together in the air with a little “Yee-haw!”

Miraculously, my hip survived. Sometimes 5Rhythms is a bit magical, the way I can enter class feeling like an old woman but emerge 2 hours later feeling sprite and lively. (The caveat is that I always have to stretch, use my foam roller, and sometimes ice after class. Then the class is magical. :-))

Here are some other observations from Friday’s class:

I’m so done with forcing or faking movement if I’m not into a song or just not feeling the energy at the moment. It’s tempting to make yourself keep moving when everyone else around you is having a good time, but sometimes I just don’t feel that vibe and continuing to dance feels unnatural and unauthentic. When this feeling starts to creep up on me, I start from scratch, taking a deep inhalation and exhalation and bring the movement only into my hands or maybe my feet. I start small, just allowing my fingers to dance or my toes to wiggle. What I usually find is that pushing this metaphorical “reset” button brings me back into authentic movement more so than faking it till I make it.

The hoodie is quickly becoming my standard 5Rhythms “uniform.” Not only does it keep me warm on winter nights, but it totally brings out my gansta alter ego whenever a rap or R&B song comes on. There may have been some crotch-grabbing the other night. (Side note: Currently watching The Wire on Netflix most def contributes to this personality transformation.)

• If you see me standing by the speakers, it is probably because I am distracted. If there is some kind of commotion going on in the space that’s affecting my concentration, I find that standing directly by the music source reigns me in and hypnotizes me back into focus.

It’s OK to “form dance” every now and then. I try not to worry about form and shapes in a 5Rhythms class, but sometimes–especially after obsessively watching Dance Academy day in and day out–a girl just needs to slip back into ballerina mode for a song or two and do a few port de bras and penchees.

I took a step into unfamiliar territory the other night and went to a group circuit training class. It’s part of an 8-week series at a local adult school, and I knew that for this to be effective (read: for me to actually attend class for 8 weeks straight), I’d have to commit for realz and throw down the cash. I filled out a registration form, signed a check, and everything!

Yes, I belong to a gym and I also have lots of free weights and fitness gadgets at home, but for a while now I have felt the need for some structure when it comes to strength training. I love doing kettlebell exercises at the gym, but my body really can’t tolerate more than 1 day a week of that. I have a buttload of strength routines from magazines and websites printed out, but sometimes the act of just reading the instructions and comprehending where each body part is supposed to be is tiring in and of itself, and after I’ve “studied” the exercises for 20 minutes I have no desire to actually do them.

All I want is a little live guidance every now and then, to push me for 45 minutes and make sure all my parts are in the right place. Nothing too crazy (not quite ready for Bodypump yet) but nothing too wimpy either. Circuit training is perfect for my body, a chance for me to get cardio without overdoing it with jarring repetitive motions, and strength training, a time to build muscle. And dude, you can’t beat the price either! $3 per class? Community education rocks…property taxes at work!

The class was packed with people of all different ages, sizes, and fitness attire. It was so vibrant that I was never really self-conscious about my hip, that between sets I had to jiggle it a little. No one noticed that I didn’t lunge as deep on my left side.

What I was self-conscious about, though, was my knack for always looking like a dancer, even when I’m trying to be buff. I have this image of myself in my mind, that, due to swimming, I’m this ridiculously toned athlete. I mean, after 30 minutes of swimming, my arms feel spent, and while it’s true that my back and shoulders have changed form from swimming, my gangly upper body still screams ballerina. Not only in appearance but in movement, too. How come some people lift dumbbells over their head and look strong, and I look like I’m practicing a port de bras with 5 pounds of iron in each hand?

Ballet days

And don’t get me started on the jumping jacks. We did a variation of the typical jumping jack, jumping out wide-legged into a squat with the arms coming through the center of our body and out to the side. In other words, I felt like I was doing small jumps in a ballet class, a series of echappes to the tune of Britney Spears rather than classical piano. I felt so proper, so poised. And I couldn’t break free from the elegance!

I love that ballet is ingrained in my body but sometimes it’s like the dorky little sister who sneaks up on you in the school hallway when you’re trying to hang out with the cool crowd. “Hey ballet, whatevs. I’m here with the chiseled athletes now, doing my super-tough jumping jacks. We’ll catch up later. Nerd.”

About the Author

Name: Jennifer

Location: Greater Philadelphia Area

Blog Mission:
SHARE my practice experience in conscious dance and yoga,

EXPAND my network of like-minded individuals,

FULFILL my desire to work with words in a more creative and community-building capacity;

FLOW and GROW with the world around me!



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