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hooray for bollywood

January 23, 2012

[Welcome to Chasing Maybes. Here, I challenge myself to embrace adventures I’ve previously dismissed or ignored.  Thanks for joining me in the chase.]

I don’t know why I am a little embarrassed to admit how much I love dance.

Perhaps it is because I fear falsely representing myself as someone who actually believes she’s a really talented dancer.  I don’t, and I’m not.

I imagine a Saturday Night Live character, “Thirtysomething Lady With Delusions of Dance Grandeur.”  Kristen Wiig would portray her, and she would be hilariously decked out in leg warmers and a pink leotard, whisking her beglittered Dance! Dance! Dance! bag over her shoulder as she tells no one in particular that she must rush off to ballet rehearsal because she has an important upcoming recital.  When we see her dance, we learn that Thirtysomething Lady galumphs around the studio like a water buffalo, her face serious as she plods clumsily across the floor.  Those around her snicker in her wake, wondering when someone is going to tell Thirtysomething Lady that she is ridiculous.

Now, I don’t wear a leotard and I no longer own a Dance! Dance! Dance! bag.  I have no intentions of performing in any recitals, now or in the future.  Other than writing about it here, I don’t spend inordinate amounts of time discussing dance at all. Above all else, I’m not in high school anymore, so no one really cares but me.

Thus, I was left to wonder:  Hey, why do I have to hide my love away?

After all, one purpose for this Chasing Maybes project is to put myself into situations where I feel ridiculous… where I am ridiculous.  For me, a critical road to growth is that of unease and discomfort, the path of the new kid looking for a place to sit in the crowded cafeteria.  On Friday, I considered that I needed to push myself a little further down this path by trying an altogether new form of dance.

I took a Bollywood class, y’all.

image by prayitno via flickr

Until Friday morning, everything I knew about Bollywood dance was derived from Slumdog Millionaire and from the breathtaking Indian wedding I attended several years ago (which was followed by a dance-filled celebration lasting into the early hours of the morning).  I had no idea what I was getting myself into, going to this Bollywood class at my dance studio, but I figured if my friend Amy could spend two weeks traveling around India without knowing the language, the least I could manage was one little dance class.

It helped every student in the class was brand new to Bollywood.  It also helped that the instructor, her bare feet bejeweled and black hair fanning out behind her as she spun, was both funny and a skilled teacher.  The dance steps were different from any I had learned before, imbued with shoulder raises and body rolls, and set to fast-paced contemporary Indian music.

At first, I found it useful to avert my eyes from the wall of mirrors facing me.  I didn’t want to see my gangly arms or stumbling feet as I struggled to learn the new dance steps.  Soon, though, I realized that every other student in the class was struggling, just as I was.  Together, we galumphed across the floor like water buffalo, plodding clumsily through the routine.  We laughed together at our mistakes.  At the end of the class, we applauded the teacher and ourselves. 

I loved every awkward moment of it.

Sweaty and satisfied, I finished the class with the realization that the path through the crowded cafeteria doesn’t have to be a lonely one.  It is my responsibility to look in the mirror, not just at myself, but at all the other seekers authentically struggling right alongside me. 

I was also reminded of what a powerful a propellant love is, so I’ll say it loud and I’ll say it proud:  I LOVE TO DANCE.

For your entertainment, I offer a clip about Bollywood dance from an old episode of Ellen:

Today, if you find yourself galumphing down your path, I hope you’ll look around and offer applause to one of your fellow galumphers.  Give ’em a little love.  Thanks, as always, for showing up.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Lucy Falk permalink
    January 23, 2012 7:46 am

    Just what I needed to start my week 🙂 Thinking of you dancing and then seeing Ellen do it 🙂 Miss you!

    • January 24, 2012 7:34 am

      Miss you, too, Lucy. Hope we get to see each other soon. For now, I am loving your FB photos and Pinterest boards :).

  2. Kris permalink
    January 23, 2012 12:48 pm

    This is pretty much how I currently feel about Zumba – at the end I’m exhilarated, joyous, sweaty and feeling very much a part of the women with me. I will shout it with you: I LOVE TO DANCE! xoxo

    • January 24, 2012 7:35 am

      Thanks for joining me in the battle cry! I haven’t tried Zumba yet, but they offer it at my dance studio… I will have to check it out next. Hope you are feeling better!

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