One thing I’m still working on in my journey to making a full recovery from my burn out earlier this year, is my fitness level. Being burned out leaves you incapacitated most of the time and thus regular workouts aren’t something you’re willing to waste your energy on. However, no matter how bad I felt now or in the past, the one constant is dance class. Whatever happens I will NOT skip dance lessons. I’m tired? I’ll take a nap and go to dance class. I’ve got a headache? I’ll pop in some aspirin and go to dance class. It takes a lot for me to not dance. In fact, right now being summer break and the dance school barely operational and I find myself dancing nonetheless. I just can’t go without it.
Now don’t think that I am a super duper amazing dancer. I’m not. I’m okay. For an amateur. I guess. I can do some cool things (turns and kicks are my forte in case you’re wondering) but I am no where near a pro and have no aspirations to dabble in that world. So no So You Think I Can Dance for me, thank you very much. I dance for fun. Because it brings me joy, it makes me happy and it makes me feel free.
The main reason why I love to dance so much is because I honestly cannot remember a time when I didn’t dance. My mom had me take dance classes when I was little. I was no more than 6 or 7 years old when I took my first dance class. By now I’m 30 and I simply never stopped doing it. Even when I was on exchange in the US I signed up for a Jazz/ Musical class, as the university I was at had a dance program. I earned credits towards my BA and it’s also my highest grade on my BA grade list (fun fact).
On top of dance class I also go to the gym. The gym is definitely a more effective way of working out. At dance class we stretch and warm up for about 25 – 30 minutes. Then we practice technique across the floor for another 15 – 20 minutes and we don’t get to the actual routine until the last 20 minutes of class. At the gym you warm up for 5 – 10 minutes and you go. But the gym is also boring and repetitive with classes changing only once every 3 months, compared to new routines for the technical and choreography part of class every 3 weeks at dance class. And let’s not get started on using the weights and fitness machines at the gym. Those type of routines bore me to no end before I’ve even started!
Where the gym provides with a bit of stress relief, dance class is a lot more effective for that. I get to experience my body more than my mind and it shifts my focus from thinking about what I have to do to what my body is doing. I achieve the same thing at the gym, but when I get used to the movements I find myself losing focus more easily at stressful times. At dance class I not only get to focus on the movements and what I’m doing, but also on how I’m doing it. You simply cannot lose focus while doing pirouettes, because you’ll simply fall over.
And that’s what makes dance class so much fun: you get to challenge yourself every week. Every routine and technical bit will give you a new material to chew on and see if you can do it. From backwards leaps to kicking higher, turning to your heart’s content, or whatever it is your teacher will throw at you. It’s a completely different way of working out and seeing yourself finally nailing that 6 point pirouette, double pique or high kick, makes it extra fun and challenging. Another great thing about dancing is that you’re doing it in a group. In the end you’re all striving to do a routine together as one and that is something that an aerobics class at the gym won’t give you.
At the end of the day, I simply don’t know what I would be doing without dance class and I am looking forward to the start up again at the beginning of September. Here’s to another year filled with fun routines and new challenges. And if you don’t know anything about turns, here’s a little video so you see a bit of some of the things I do on a Wednesday night 😉
What’s your favorite work out?