Dance Like Your Grandpa Is Watching (Except Maybe Don’t)

Today marks the second of the four weeks of jazz subs. Y. is currently unable to teach us on account of being on the Bahamas and posting photos of improbable beaches on Facebook. For which I harbor no resentment at all, especially when I get to see them in the morning on my way into work. Oh well.

As you may remember and I most certainly do, last week’s sub did not teach us jazz at all, but hip-hop. So guess what we danced today?

That’s right. Hip-hop again! If this continues, we might actually learn some. It was a different sub this time, also subbing for another sub that couldn’t make it. The same sub that couldn’t make it last week, actually, and incidentally also my old stretching teacher, Jay. Which is of little importance, because she wasn’t there.

Who was there was a kids’ hip-hop instructor… including the kids. Apparently, she got asked to sub on short notice, and then she asked her own class if they’d like to come along. The four kids (kids as in older teens, not as in preschoolers) tagged along cheerfully and took part in both the beginner and the intermediate class, adding up to two and a half hours of intense dancing, which was impressive. When I walked in, I was not so much surprised to see three unfamiliar faces as I was a very familiar one: J., my neighbour from the modern recital piece (whose head has recently made an accidental acquaintance with my foot).

By mutual agreement, we worked on a new part of the kids’ choreography, breezing through the part they already knew. To our surprise, we were mostly able to follow along there and could even do something vaguely resembling the steps by the end of the lesson, aided by vigorous squinting at the kids, who, fortunately for us, knew the dance quite well. We were almost convinced we were naturally good at hip-hop (alright, I was almost convinced), when the sub turned all the lights off.

Dancing in relative darkness is a neat thing to do. You can’t see yourself in the mirror and you know no one is watching you, so you can really let it go. Or so you can stand there like an idiot and realise that you don’t actually know the steps, you can just copy them in real time. At least until we got to the part we learned during that lesson, wherein everyone was equally versed.

Still, it was a lot of fun. The steps were ridiculously fast and set to an extremely familiar track, so of course I couldn’t place it at all. On later Googling, it turned out to be Ed Sheeran. The sub’s teaching style was great, with the right mix of improv and technique and a great sense of humour. When we were done learning the steps, she insisted we dance them with more conviction. She explained this by telling us to imagine our very, very near-sighted grandfather was watching us from far away and we had to make him see what we were doing. We tried. She said that was great, but we had to listen to the song lyrics and make the whole thing look much more sexy. I protested that sexy was a bit difficult to do when your grandfather is watching, which everyone found hilarious. We settled for imagining a sexy person of our preferred gender who is unfortunately also really near-sighted and it all worked out well from there.

Lesson learned: surprise hip-hop class = usually good, sexy dancing for grandparents = probably bad.

Brilliant, glorious title image by and of Simon James, CC license, downloaded here.

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