Dance! - The Road to Heavies: Try-out class Irish dance, the 1st of October 2011
When I exit the tram, there is a big building in front of me. Despite that, I can't find the entrance and the main-entrance looks rather quiet.
I walk by the building a few times and on my third passage there is an open door and I hear a jolly Irish tune. That leaves no doubt I'm in the right place and when I introduce myself to the teacher he immediately knows who I am.
Age and nationality in the mix
I get changed and slowly other dancers fill the hall as well.
This try-out class is a real revelation. The age of the dancers ranges from 6 to something like 30 years and also nationality is one big melting pot. The main language is English, but there is someone from Germany as well. The only other male I see comes from Russia, an answer I did not expect to say the least.
The class started with some basic moves, including getting up on your toes and walking. Most of the other stuff was still far to complex for me, so I waited a few times against the wall.
But, not for long most of the time: when the group of dancers was on a small break, the teacher would go through a couple of basic movements with the two of us. Besides me, there was someone in her twenties taking her second class. The teacher was very enthusiastic and that just made you participate in practicing.
Pointing (or something like it...)
Two things remained with me the most from this try-out class. One of them was the most basic move, or call it posture, namely the pointing: touching the floor with only the front-part of your big toe while keeping a straight leg and foot. Oh yeah, you should also turn your heel inwards.
What!? That can never be! Well... with quite a lot of trouble and effort I could strike a pose that looked something like it.
The other thing that stayed with me (for the rest of the day) was the sound of the heavy shoes. Only familiar with that sound from the telly and theatre-performances, it was quite the thing to listen to 15 pairs of heavies battering away on the floor without amplification or hearing it as a recording.
I only took part in that try-out class for 3 x 5 minutes, but after that, I was completely wrecked. That was down to my body-condition and the dance itself: every muscle in your body gets a workout.
Without taking notice of it, I rested for about 30 minutes before I decided to go back. I got changed and than I went home.
One thing was for sure: I want that too! Though it requires me to go through the basics on soft shoes to get to the heavy shoes, I probably have the advantage that I like both dances.
Where other people probably only like the thundering hard-shoe stuff, I like both the soft- and heavy-shoe dances. The feeling like the dancer is floating across the stage in soft-shoe dances and the power from the loud heavy-shoe dancing.
My fitness was the only problem and doing something about that would come down to pure devotion and the will to change. I already expected to be forced to face the facts about me being unfit and I wasn't wrong. I already got some fierce sore muscles on the train. No, don't tell me this is Schiphol yet! I had to get off and walk for a short while to eventually sit down on a more comfortable bench.
I nearly had to drag myself in when I reached the front-door of my home. I was completely drained. With the last bit of energy left, I decided to already fill in the form for the classes that would start in Haarlem.
Two days later, I decided to start practicing the most basic Irish dance move there is: The 1-2-3.
The first thing I have great trouble with presents itself right away. The fact I have to move again with the foot I ended with causes great confusion and mistakes, but I'm pretty sure I will do better at the first real class.
Besides that, I once again experience how bad my balance is. I lose balance regularly and correct that by waving my arms around like mad.
This really surprises me! In daily life, you probably think you have quite a good sense of balance, but now I have to pay attention to it so much ánd I have all my weight on 1 foot, my sense of balance really sucks.
Also a basic problem: Distance. With the hallway to the front door connected to the living room I don't have the space to practice the 1-2-3 more than three times in a row, as I tend to take huge steps.