There is a lot of things that I can’t do: I can’t eat just one Pringle, I can’t say the name of the bird ‘blue tit’ without giggling and I can’t speak Mandarin Chinese (I can only read it*).
There one thing though that I really really can’t do….
…and that my dear readers is dance.
I can’t dance. I mean, I dance all the time. Constantly. I’m even dancing right now (sunshine…moonlight…good times…boogie).
But when I do dance, it’s carnage. Not literally…except for that one time I tried waltzing but…whatever. I just have zero coordination. It was a conversation with Cheryl over at Tropical Affair that reminded my of the time my mother took me to dance lessons to try and cure my multiple left feet. It did not go well.
There were two teachers, a man and a woman. Apparently they were former dance champions or something. When I found out they didn’t actually have championship belts like wrestlers do I lost interest pretty quickly.
Anyway, I assumed it would be pretty easy. I’d carry a watermelon, the male teacher would take a shine to me and we’d end up closing the season at Kellerman’s. Then, in week two, I’d learn to moonwalk. Yes, I had big plans.
I would have the time of my life…
Unfortunately, my plans didn’t exactly come to fruition. We were supposed to learn not one, not two, but three dances: salsa, jive and ballroom. Piece of cake, right?
The first week, we just had to learn basic steps. Pfft, I thought as I glided into the room, easy peasy. I did my stretches and readjusted my leg warmers (I’d watched Flashdance to get me pumped). I even rang my good friend Kevin Bacon** for some advice. He said something like “yadda yadda…footloose…blah blah…” (Kevin rambles a little). I was ready. I had this.
“Okay, we’re going to do very basic steps today,” the lady said, smiling. “So we’ll start with a very basic turn, two three, kick one two, twirl, toe, heel, spin, three four five and click. Got it? Good?”
Needless to say, this was my face:
All I’d heard was “something something twirl” so I twirled. And promptly fell over. Flat on my ass.
Like this, except I wasn’t ice skating. If I had been, I probably would’ve killed someone.
My teacher tutted.
“Erm, you there! Are you having difficulty?”
Noooo, what makes you say that?
“Eh, I’m good. I’m good. Just might have went into ‘the twirl’ a little…enthusiastically.”
She looked at me with at sympathy. She knew it then. She knew I was one of the few people on this planet who are just beyond help. She just didn’t have the heart to tell me.
“Erm, perhaps you should just stick to doing three steps left and three steps right?”
That’s correct readers; she asked me to do a “dance” a monkey could learn. Frustrated with my lack of progress (I had fully expected to be leading the steps to Thriller by this stage), I agreed. I stared to take three steps left.
“Erm, no…that’s not quite it…” She was now looking confused.
“Really?” Wasn’t I just supposed to walk three steps left and three steps right?
I should point out at this stage that my mother had accompanied me to these classes and was now waltzing around the floor like Ginger Feckin’ Rogers.
“Why don’t you go have a drink of water?” The dance teacher pointed towards the drinking fountain.
Seriously, this is what I began to feel like:
The following week, I was just as hopeless. I just about managed to stay vertical, but when people were going left, I was going right. When people were dipping, I was hopping on one foot. When people were clicking their heels, I was clicking my fingers.
By the next class, I had come to the attention of everyone in the room; including the male teacher. While we were warming up, he approached me.
“Um, listen Jane. I think I might partner up with you for this class…just because, well…you know.” He gave me one of those agonisingly sympathetic looks. I nodded. I fully expected that a world class dance instructor would no doubt be able to help me.
“Okay, we’ll start with a very simple three step dance. It’s a piece of cake.”
I didn’t get it.
“Ok, we’ll try two steps.”
I stood on his feet.
I’d like to mention at this stage, his hair was unkempt, his tie was askew and he was covered in sweat. He was trying to stay patient.
“Oookaaaaay. How about just rocking from side to side on your feet?”
No readers, he was not kidding.
What happened? Well, I tripped. I kicked one foot with the other and fell down like a sack of potatoes. At this point, I imagine his brain to have done something like this:
He put his hands on my shoulders and calmly said:
“Listen, Jane. I can’t teach you. Baryshnikov couldn’t teach you. I’m sorry; I would be wasting your money. Why don’t you learn to paint instead? Or act? Or…crochet?”
“I really can’t dance?”
“Jane, you fell over while standing still.”
So reader, my experience with dance lessons didn’t quite go to plan. That doesn’t mean I don’t do an amazing Macarena when I’ve had a glass*** of wine.
Is there anything you can’t do?
*I can read it…with Google translate
** No relation to the actor Kevin Bacon
*** Six glasses. Six glasses of wine, okay?