This is me taking back everything I’ve ever said about my current jazz class being boring. Jazz is a veritable adrenaline rush compared to what I’m about to describe, a fun park, a fireworks display. Jazz merely adopted boringness. This new class was born in it, molded by it. And the class in question? My beloved modern dance.
As announced, I went to the ASVZ modern class on Friday. I don’t currently work Fridays, so the lunch break class works perfectly for me, especially if I have to skip Beans’ class to go to a concert or something. It is listed as «beginner», so I didn’t expect it to be a huge struggle. Still, a beginner class is nice to work on the basics, especially if you can choose to go when you feel like it. It is modern, I thought. Modern never sucks, I thought.
The ASVZ class is one and a half hours long. Awesome, I thought. Carrot’s is only an hour, Beans’ is an hour and fifteen. Imagine how much work you can do in ninety minutes!
It turns out the amount of work you can do in ninety minutes is equivalent to about ten minutes of any of my other classes, just, you know, stretched out to one and a half hours.
It started off nice and slow with lying down from a sitting position, rolling through your spine. A lot of modern classes do. Then they pick up the pace a little bit. This one just… didn’t. In all my other classes, we have various routines: for warm-up, for swings, for strength training, for tendus, for floor work, for the diagonal. And then, there’s the main choreo. Each routine has its own music and is basically a small, very functional dance.
In the ASVZ class, the routines consist of one movement, maybe two. They are all executed with an excruciating slowness. Music is not a thing there. During the diagonal (a single step, repeated over and over), the teacher put on a song so minimal it was basically a drum track… then she told us not to worry about following the music. But in that case… what is the point exactly? At the beginning of each exercise, I expected her to eventually say, «And now we’ve practiced this step, we will follow it up with a second step» and it just kept not happening. Even the choreography was glacially slow and set to the same non-music that lacked expression.
I’ll give the teacher something, though: She emphasized getting a feel for the room, for your body and for the other dancers. So much so, that by the «meditation» at the end of the lesson, where you’re supposed to let your body relax, I was twitchy and eager to do some actual dancing. I compensated by hitting the gym afterwards.a
I realise that this lethargic pace and meditative approach is alright for some. I also realise that there is no dance class in which you can’t learn anything. I tried to do my best on each exercise and follow all of the teacher’s instructions. Some, if not all, of those exercises can teach me something. But I will not be going back to that class anytime soon. It’s not the right class for me, because it took all the joy out of dancing.
I’m energetic and somewhat ambitious. I love the fast pace of my other modern lessons. I love the fact that I suck at some things. I love when I get better at things I used to suck at. It annoys me when the advanced students outperform me, but it also drives me. When we work in alternating groups, I watch them and try to do like they do. I love the beautiful, cool and funny music our teachers pick. I love dancing to it, even when I suck. That’s why I love modern class so much. That’s why the thought of going to class in the evening frequently gets me out of bed in the morning. In comparison, the ASVZ class was just… dead, because it lacked all those things that make me feel so alive.
So I won’t be going back. (Duh!) Maybe I’ll hit one of the intermediate classes in Zürich when I have the time. Until then, strength training it is.