Dance Dance Revolution

I signed up to take Lyrical Jazz dance classes with Park & Rec. If my ankle could handle this, it’ll be a sign that I should return to dance.

To quote Julia Stiles in “Save the Last Dance”, I used to dance.

I was trained in classical ballet from kindergarten up to 7th grade at a prestigious dance academy. I quit about 6 months into pointe. Why quit when I was so far down the road? First of all, a somewhat medical condition I developed at puberty, kind of like the X-Men mutation…heh. Secondly, I was discouraged by my peers and my instructors.

Until when I was about 13, I used to be fine with motion. I never got sick in a car or on a boat. Spinning in ballet was not a problem especially with the head snapping thing that we do. But one day, I was reading something in the moving car, and I got dizzy. And then spinning in my ballet class became a dizzying affair. This was about the time we started doing turns and spins on pointe. And a LOT of them. I could barely hold it together in class, and would come home with a massive headache and dizziness for a couple of hours afterward. Physically, things aren’t looking good for me and dancing.

By that time, I was also the only girl in my dance school that haven’t taken any Royal Ballet Academy test since my 2nd or 3rd level. I just wanted to dance. I wasn’t going to attend a ballet academy or going into arts and dance program in college. There was no reason for me to keep testing. The instructors allowed me to keep going up the levels with my classmates without taking the tests. In retrospect, they tolerated my presence, and just got paid for my being there.

By the time we got to pointe, I was the only left in the class that wasn’t aiming for the dance profession. That was when the instructors stopped paying any attention to me. I wasn’t inform of the proper way to break into the pointe, and how to actually break the shoes. I kept coming to class with pointe and was wondering why my feet wouldn’t flex like the other girls’. I finally asked my classmate about it. She said they did go over it in class when I wasn’t here. But no one seemed to care to make sure after that that my shoes were in the right condition several classes afterward.

With my physical condition and lack of attention from my danc school, I quit ballet.

Instead, I turned to jazz dance at a more popular dance school. For a year and a half, I was having a great time. My teachers were great, and everyone was there to dance. But then, as all Thai students know, by the time 9th grade comes, life outside academics is virtually over. The ultra-competitive nature of Thai academic demanded most of my weekend hours to studying or being tutored to be prepared for high school (10th-12th) and entering college. The money and time for that 1 hour dance lesson was instead dedicated to math and English tutoring.

My life in dance was virtually over. And I haven’t taken another dance class since. (Well, I did try belly dancing, but that doesn’t really count since I didn’t particularly enjoy it as much. You can’t belly dance well if you’re self conscious, let me tell you that much.)

Anyway. I’m going to be pushing the limit on my ankle here. Yeah, I know I know. I quit–uh–retired from TKD 2 years short of a black belt because my bad right ankle. But I’m going to push it for dance? Of course. Anything for dance.

In any case, the road back to my dancing past is not a smooth one.

Problem number 1. Ankle.

Problem number 2. Shoes.

My class starts Tuesday. I have no shoes. I was going to try using my old, soft ballet shoes but they don’t quite fit. It’s like a quarter of an inch to small. So scratch that plan. The local dancewear store is completely out of shoes bigger than size 4, so I have to hunt some down tomorrow night, or I’ll just have to barefoot it in my first class.

Let’s see how this all will work out in the end.

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