We go to the barre (for my non-dancers, that's literally a handle bar that you hold onto for balance) and practice whatever technical skills the dance teacher tells us to practice.
The cool part is that, at barre, nobody can really focus on you because everyone is kind of in their own space. So, personally, barre is my favorite part of class.
But then, it comes time to put the barres away, and do dance combinations across the floor... and I get flashbacks from my high school dance class, where most of the kids were complete bitches with major attitude.
It was basically Mean Girls times twenty. I still remember when one of my friends told me that another "friend" said - behind my back - that I always looked like I didn't know what I was doing.
Granted, I didn't, because I was starting from the bottom in high school. And, sometimes, I still don't. I only did dance in high school for two and a half years, and then took a two year break. So, dance is still relatively new to me. And, the class I'm taking moves very fast. So, a lot of the time, when we're doing dance combinations, I forget what the next step is in the middle of the routine, and I have to fake it as I go along.
And to be honest, sometimes it's hard not to feel you look stupid compared to other dancers. But, as hard as it is, you have to shut off the part of your brain that's telling you that, or you won't learn anything.
I guess that, subconsciously, I went into this new dance class setting expecting it to be like it was in high school. But, there is a big difference between then and now:
Those bitches from my high school dance class were...well... high school bitches, most of whom probably had really low self-esteem, and overcompensated for it by being catty.
Everyone in my current class is grown... and they are really nice, mature people! Plus, worrying about what other people think of my dancing only takes the fun out of going to the class, and I'm not going to sabotage myself that way.
I've been fascinated with dance as an art form from a young age, and after taking it as an elective in high school, and learning just how much strength and grace it took, I only appreciated it more. It takes serious skill, and it's a skill that I've been wanting to develop. And that takes time, no matter who you are.
But, surprisingly, I've found that taking dance classes is developing more than just my physical strength and flexibility - it's been putting my confidence to the test as well.
Oh, and here's something funny: I ran into one of the other dancers yesterday after class, and she told me she liked watching me dance. I jokingly brushed the compliment off a little because the self-conscious part of me had a bit of trouble believing her, but I know she wouldn't have gone out of her way to say it if it weren't true.
That just goes to show, we are almost always our own worst critic.