I take dancing very seriously. I even read books about it. But taking something seriously doesn’t mean never
making jokes about balls having fun with it, does it?
Just like my ballet class, my hiphop/streetdance class is often hilarious. Unlike ballet class, this has little to do with our incompetence, but everything to do with the teacher.
A little background: Out of my three classes hiphop is the most physically demanding. Ballet requires a lot of concentration and works the leg, hip and core muscles wonderfully, but the lesson is only an hour long. We do some sit-ups and push-ups in jazz, but after that, it’s technique and choreo, during which things get explained, music gets restarted and mistakes get corrected.
Hiphop is different. What starts off with nice isolation exercises rapidly builds up to grueling calisthenics. Let’s do 30 push-ups and then maybe do some more. Let’s do a gazillion sit-ups in all the lovely variations. Let’s do a rapid sequence of different lower abs exercises. Why are you on your face, you’re supposed to be in a plank. After that, stretching and choreography. Unlike jazz, we usually learn large chunks of steps at once. Also unlike jazz, there is no need to restart the music after each repetition. You see, jazz steps are often marked with lyrics instead of beats and counts. Hiphop has no such pretense. Unless we make some particularly horrible mistake, we get a count of four to sprint back to our starting place and then we dance again. And again. And again.
Don’t take me wrong, I love it! It’s a great training session, the choreography is really cool and it’s also tremendously fun, all thanks to the teacher. She is a tiny, smiling, round bouncing ball of energy with a streak of drill sergeant – and a somewhat lewd sense of humour. It is the latter that truly makes her lessons a delight.
A couple of weeks ago she used a certain part of male anatomy to explain a dance move. The move consists of holding your straight arms in front of you, close to your body, and then rolling your wrists outwards and fanning your fingers as if stroking something. Your hands are fairly close to your crotch at this point. The teacher turned to the only guy that was attending class that day and matter-of-factly declared «Just imagine you’re scratching your balls.» After the general merriment had subsided (it took a while) she said «Bet you all will never forget this move now?»
She was right. Last Monday, much farther on in the choreography, we learned a similar movement, but with the arms farther out in front of you. Immediately, a girl started laughing and told the teacher how she could never forget that particular analogy. The teacher said that the analogy was not suitable for this variation, because «your hands are way too far away for that».
At which point my mouth spontaneously fell open and the words «This is for scratching someone else’s, duh!» fell out.
Hilarity. Everyone laughed. I laughed. The teacher laughed the hardest. And we danced. (And we cried, and we laughed and hat a really really really good time. Now it’s in your head. Ha!)
Having fun with something is not the same as ridiculing it. For me personally, a little laughter is motivational, as long as I’m still able to concentrate on the lesson for the rest of the time. And the occasional well-timed joke about balls can help you bond with your classmates a little.
I’m so proud of that last sentence.
PS: I will blog about serious things one day. But it is not this day!