I started dancing in May, and it’s been nearly half a year now. 2-3 sessions per week. 1 hour per session. The dancing class has many different types of dance: Sexy Dance, Choreography, Chinese Contemporary Dance, Cardio, Zumba, Kpop … I started with Sexy Dance, then I felt Chinese Dance was more suitable, and recently I am practicing Choreography and I feel like it very much. The difference between the three “types” mentioned above is right in the names so it is very obvious. Sexy Dance brings out the softness, personality, and charm of the body. Chinese Contemporary dance exudes gentleness, femininity, and grace. Choreography balances between strength and softness, requiring the body to flexibly change its states.
Because the types of dance I am practicing are in the form of individual exercises, according to the class schedule, it often takes about 2-3 weeks to complete 1 exercise and new students should fully attend from the beginning to the end to catch up with other students. If the weekly schedule has a lot of good dancing exercises and my working schedule is not too tight, I will go to practice dancing almost every day. For the weeks that I am too busy, I still try to go to class 1 time/ week so that I don’t miss dancing too much. However, there are days when I’m not too busy and not tired but just lazy, thankfully, because I join the dancing class with some friends, I still have to go to dancing class due to my responsibility with … them. Then I just lift my butt out of my laziness and come to the dancing class, I always feel energized.
The reason I love dancing is that I am always able to listen to music when I go to the dancing class. Sometimes the music is joyful, sometimes it is sad. Music is the spirit of the dancing class. Music combined with physical movement creates art. Art is the savior for sensitive souls. I have tried gym and yoga (for a few times). After I started exercising gym or yoga for a while, I always felt a bit bored, I wanted the class to be over soon. With dance, music gives me the motivation to practice hard. Many times, I felt how quickly an hour passed! There were days when we practiced for 3-4 hours until our limbs were tiring, but when resting on the floor, we all looked at each other and grinned.
My body changed little by little over each month of practice. In the early days, I felt like a moving tree-log. My body shape is thin and small. At the age of nearly 30, my skeleton was quite hard. Every movement clearly showed my clumsy. Sometimes I watched the teacher and my classmates doing a certain gesture but I didn’t know how to do it. Every night when I came home, I had to review the exercises on my own. On the days I didn’t go to the dancing class, I invited my friend to come along, and the two of us practiced dancing so hard. My biggest plus point of that time was remembering the movements quite fast. In the second month, there were many repetitive and similar movements so I did not find it hard to catch up with my classmates, but got acquainted with the new movements more easily. However, since that month, the number of exercises already practiced and being practiced was increasing, my memory was also decreasing, sometimes I got confused between one lesson and the other. In the 3rd month, my body started to become more flexible and healthier. I was not prone to sickness anymore. Only 1 time in nearly 6 months, I had some signs of cold, but after going to class to practice until all sweaty, my cold was completely relieved.
In the 4th month, I practiced dancing like chilling out, and I didn’t need to practice hard at home anymore. I could follow some movements by routine, feeling the connection between consecutive movements. The 5th month – that is around this time, after a long period of practice, I was able to dance to the fullest and adjust my movements to make it more beautiful and firm. Because the body is used to movements, it is more tough and durable. Instead of being tired and falling asleep after just 1 hour of practice like before, now I can practice 3 – 4 continuous hours but I can still be alert enough to work. I also learned another thing: dancing is like breathing in – breathing out, every movement is continuous and frequent, and we can put our minds and bodies into music without thinking. However, it is a long process from understanding to achieving. So with a distracted girl like me, the scene of… “oh god, I forgot this movement” is normal. I still find it difficult that when I try to concentrate on the movements, I will miss the rhythm, and if I go with the music, I will forget the movements. I am an expert at breaking the class, oh my! ^. ^
As one of my friends said, “Dance is a hard process. First, you need to memorize the movements, then, you need to move the movements into the right technique and amplitude, then you should feel the music – and feel the movements, finally, you should bring yourself and the viewers into the space of music and body that you create yourself”. Normally, those who are gifted and have the skeletons suitable for dancing will learn very quickly. I do not have the talent but only my special love, I will have to accept that it would take more time. Because above all, dancing really gives me a great experience.
Hey, my body is firmer, healthier (based on the comment of my beloved husband – who constantly encourages me to practice). Uhm, although my soul is 18, my body is like a high school student at the age of… thirty. I clearly felt the hormonal change that everyone had been threatening before, but I still thought that I was very young, I couldn’t be old so quickly. So if I didn’t listen to the advice of my husband, I would probably get old soon. In addition, dancing helps to release inner emotions so every time I step out of the dancing class, I also feel more comfortable, and I work more productively at home, I feel my appetite is better. Knowing how to dance a little bit, I can release my emotions anywhere. Like the days when we went to Da Lat, we danced together in the middle of the vast open-air, so free and easy!
In addition, I also met new super lovely friends. Positive energy is spread, making me full of good vibes. The dance and the people I meet at the dancing class help me to learn a profound lesson about the unity of a group and the connection between people, between people and music. When the music is on, it doesn’t matter where we are standing. The most important thing to make a beautiful dance is the whole. The place I practiced dancing was Mistake Dance Studio. My sister translated it as “The group dance of mistakes”, which is totally true! No dance is free from errors, but it’s all complete thanks to the efforts of each member. There, we live with the pros and cons of each member.
Once, an American dancer asked me if there is any traditional Vietnamese dance? Honestly, I didn’t think so much, so I answered no. The only dance I remember is the one I learned in kindergarten: raising my hands and turning them to create a flower when singing the song “I am 3, and I go to kindergarten”. Not all countries have traditional dances so it is not strange for Vietnam not to have any traditional dances. However, her question unintentionally made me ponder a little on the correlation between dancing and freedom.
The court dances in our country in the past were influenced by China, and it seemed to be a luxury activity for the common people. In the time of our grandmother and our mother, in the North, women were forced to keep the religious, to be secretive, and unable to express their feelings freely. The act of jumping up with joy will be considered ungainly, dressing stylishly and dancing freely to the music will be classified as naughty. In the South, only the middle and upper classes go dancing in the discotheques. People who pursue dancing as a major or an art must be born in a wealthy and intellectual family. In general, a normal subject – dancing is not for everyone.
In our open society, young girls can show their emotions, dance happily, but must be at the right time, in the right place, and with the right people. There are still many ideas that dancers are like singers, models, actors, etc, who are all frivolous. Many parents frowned and vehemently protested when their children said they wanted to become dancers instead of accountants, doctors, engineers … Basically, because we still bear the invisible burden of social prejudice. In the past, I opened a cafe with music performances, I saw that all of the people who came to listen to music were sitting stiffly like logs. I know they wanted to relax but still hesitated; some other people did not even know how to swing! But no one has the power to free himself better than himself. I also have to untie myself gradually.
Every time I went to Yoko to see Sinco perform, meeting the singer in her 60s and seeing her dance to the music, I always admired her for daring to go against the crowd and living right with herself. Surely, the price she paid was expensive, but I want to be like her. I will continue dancing until I get old. You will be with me, okay? Dance to break the prejudices, to be yourself, to live a life of freedom.