(Almost) Never Too Late
If you had told me a year ago that I would find myself in the front row of a Zumba class, bumping, sweating and grinning to beat the band, I would have told you uh-uh. Not that it wouldn’t have had appeal, but in my own mind it had become an impossibility. Combine arthritic knees with shortness of breath and you have a recipe for self imposed dance exile. Not to mention the added psychological burden of passing the 7th decade of my life.
That was before boredom and disgust drove me to attempt a more intense diet and fitness regimen. I knew instinctively that enough for me was not enough for my body any more. I had to shake it up. Seriously. Left to its own devices my body was seriously out-of-control and rolling downhill. Fast!
Though I’d stopped dance classes decades ago, I never stopped missing the exuberant sense of freedom that comes with movement to music.
I went to college in Miami where Cuban music became an essential part of my musical zeitgeist. The idea of spending an hour dancing to Latin music still had a strong appeal. I told myself that I’d just take it as far as I could, fully expecting that I’d poop out after the first 10 minutes of class.
Somehow I made it all the way through my first class. Maybe it’s the fabulous sprung floor at the Carrillo Rec Center. I could barely believe it. I was exhausted, but gleeful. I’ve now taken about 7 or 8 classes. I’m picking up my feet on the fancy footwork, moving my body more quickly and most importantly, having a hell of a time, feeling a newly found pride and wonder in the discovery that it ain’t over yet.
Spurred on, I began a modern class as well. Similar outcome. Bless Susan Alexander.
I stopped my formal ballet training because of asthma when I was 14. At 18, I decided I’d missed my window and had to give up the dream. Too old, I told myself. In my late 20’s, I went back to class to study ballet again. In my 30’s, I delved into modern, but then at 50, losing a dear teacher, and having back problems, I gave that up too.
It might be a cliche , but I’m here to encourage the belief that while there’s life left in a dancer, you have not danced your last dance.