Friday, November 20, 2009

Dancing for Joy -- by Robin

I'm taking an acting class through the local adult ed, and it's really a challenge in more ways than one.

A novelist/playwright friend of mine in town suggested it because she knows I aspire to write a play ("Mensch: The Musical" based on my book HOW TO MARRY A MENSCH...which means decent person). She thought it could help with dialogue, etc.

I have to admit I had no idea what I was getting in to. In high school I was involved with theatre. I served as Prop Master for the production of Arsenic and Old Lace. And, when they did Anything Goes...despite not being a singer.....I auditioned and got selected as an Angel. It was fun, and I got to wear some glamorous/borderline sexy attire....a far cry from my stretch pants and t-shirts of mommyhood. I loved it. And, have always enjoyed hanging with theatre people. Theatre is one of my true loves. To this day, I can't get enough of it. And, I've taken playwriting classes which I've enjoyed, and would love to study further.

All that said, when I signed up for the adult ed acting class, I didn't know what to expect. And, what I've found is more than what I saw coming, and it's frankly....invigorating!

The instructor, who is very experienced and talented, puts a lot of effort into coming up with exercises each week, and homework assignments. This week, she brought in a CD player and announced that she was going to play the music of her rocker godson, and we were to move. Then, move more! she proclaimed. Then, respond to someone else's movement, she said. So, basically we were dancing in what, by day, is a kid's classroom. And, it felt freeing. I was not worried about being self-conscious (okay...maybe a tad). But, I didn't have much time to think about it. And, it was cool. I lost myself. It took me back to my single days when I used to go dancing (in my 20s,) wearing heels and all. Now I found myself momentarily wondering if I even remembered how to dance. How did I dance back then? Were my movements the same or close to it?

I don't go dancing anymore. It's not that I wouldn't want to (though I'm not big on wearing heels anymore). It just doesn't arise...except if we go to a wedding.

Isn't it interesting how at different phases of our life certain activities come and go?! I can understand if, as you age, physical challenges and limitations set in. But, if that's not the case, then why do we cease pursuing particular activities that we once enjoyed? Did we forget we liked them? Have we lost track of what brings us pleasure? Are we so caught up in being "busy" (whatever that means) to even think about inviting joy into our lives?

I was watching actress Kate Hudson, daughter of Goldie Hawn, interviewed on Oprah this week, talking about the upcoming movie Nine. In it, she has a big song/dance number, and while she was super nervous and doesn't consider herself a singer, she was well-trained and pulled it off with aplomb. Oprah asked her, "Are you always so joyous? Whenever you come on the show, you seem that way. " Hudson explained how she was raised to feel things deeply and then seek out the joy. What a great life lesson she got and can pass on to her young son.

How hard is it to blast the music in your own home or ipod and let loose in the privacy of your home if you like? Dance for joy. Let it rip! And, who knows what else might come up for you?

As a child, I loved to make pot holders, crepe paper flowers and other artistic items. I even remember being an entrepreneur back then and setting up a flower/pot holder stand in front of my house, in an attempt to sell my wares. I was quite crafty, and to this day, would probably enjoy crafts, but I don't allow myself the time to pursue it.

I'm so focused on productivity and life responsibility, that doing something just for fun doesn't
regularly cross my mind. I do think of things that my son would find fun. And, we have fun together. But, his idea of fun isn't always mine. And, while that's ok....I envy his ability to relish playtime and focus on that and nothing else when he'e engaged. I, on the other hand, often have racing thoughts going through my mind of all I have to or have decided I need to do/accomplish. But, what would happen if I didn't? What if I put something aside? How would that feel? I'd like to find out.

I wonder what my acting teacher will have in store next class?!

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Blogger Cara Meyers said...

While I was away, I played music from the nineties and as I got dressed, found myself singing and dancing to those songs. Then I asked myself the same question...why did all of this go away? And even sadder, nothing equally exciting has taken it's place.
Exciting has turned into watching Dinosaur Train on Playhouse Disney with my son.

5:09 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

I am not fun : (
I hate Fun Day at my kids' school, and my idea of fun is a trip to the library.
Thank you for this post that inspires us to loosen up and have some fun! Good for us, good for our kids.

6:07 PM  

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