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Variety? Spice? Of life? Sounds like India…

January 28, 2013

January 26th was an interesting day for me. My ego got a kick in the backside that it probably needed.

I’m not a very fit person. I can run for about two minutes before I have to stop or I think my legs will fold under me and my heart will explode. Nor am I a particularly svelte individual, I’m what you might call 30lbs overweight (because I am.) But I am a good dancer. I think. Years of karate, tai chi, ninjutsu and aikido have ensured that I’m pretty aware of my feet and my body co-ordination is pretty good. Generally speaking, you show me something physical to do, and give me a few goes, I can get it to some degree. Ninjutsu is different for some reason but I’m a natural at tai chi and aikido. Go figure.

So it was rather a surprise this weekend when I found myself, no other word for it, gleefully enough, utterly discombobulated.

I’ve been waiting YEARS to use that word in a sentence. Just so you know.

A friend suggested last week that we go to Bollywood dancing with a mutual friend in tow, promising dinner and a movie afterward. He’s my partner for ballroom dancing so I know he’s fun to dance with and it’s difficult to turn down good company and free food, and I’d not seen the mutual friend for a little while, so I said absolutely, that sounds like spectacular fun. If you remember it was a similarly spontaneous response that got me wandering about Europe. This class was only in Cardiff though so a fair bit cheaper and less of an investment!

The three of us tiptoe into the venue, there are only two ladies there so despite not knowing exactly where we were looking for we got there in time. The instructor has just stepped out but we make our introductions and the wiser of us (in other words, everyone but me) makes sure they have a drink near to hand. I think to myself, “pansies, this is only the first session,” and in those immortal words of Jeremy Clarkson, “how hard can it be?” It’s right up there with “they couldn’t hit an elephant at this dist-” isn’t it?

The instructor arrives and I’m intimidated immediately, she has the spandex on, a bright coloured Alice band, and that “energy” stuff I heard about once in a magazine. Me and my friend are praised for showing up because such classes are basically exclusively attended by women. This fact frustrates me a little because dance is awesome and every man should have a few moves for when he has to attend a wedding (so they don’t have to resort to parting the wild horse’s mane ( to the music 😛

So the instructor turns to a huge stereo on a table behind her, adjusts the volume to a level where I can just about hear her, and begins.

The next hour is a blur of flailing arms and legs, dehydration, losing my balance, being very ambitious, Gangnam style in a conga line around the room, sweat burning my eyes (safe to say I earned it!) and smiling and laughing the entire time. It was surreal. But it was a real shock to me, it’s the first time since I first started martial arts when I was eight or so that I had no idea what to do with my arms and legs, how to co-ordinate, how to do ANYTHING. I have literally never felt so lost in a class, every movement was alien to me (except the Gangnam style, I’ve done enough of that in my time, even in Amsterdam *insert picture somewhere*).

Will I go back? I reckon I will. After the class I went to the bathroom (somehow I hadn’t sweated out every drop of fluid in me, apparently) and tried not to throw up. Me, ambition and exercise seldom result in me feeling well. Then we went back to my friend’s and watched Priscilla: Queen of the Desert and had an English breakfast for dinner, because two of us are Welsh and that’s the manner in which we roll round these here parts. During the meal I suddenly had an attack of anxiety or adrenaline caught up with me, or something. I managed to rein it in and I don’t think anyone noticed, but I lost my appetite and felt ungrateful for leaving so much food.

So exercise for brain and body. They say a change is as good as a rest but honestly, I’m quite fond of the rest, especially the short breaks granted between the eight or so sequences. I’d recommend the class for someone who fancies something different, though. You can find your local at Though the catchphrase annoys me, it’s good fun and pretty cheap for what it is, and the one in Cardiff I went to offers a free taster session, which is always a plus. So don’t just sit there – buy me a pint.


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