When my friend Marquita signed me up for that dance aerobics class, I warned her that I have no rhythm and even less coordination. I tried not to feel out of place, me in my bike shorts and an old, worn t-shirt which said, “If found unconcious, administer chocolate,” surrounded by a sea of youthful class veterans in leotards and thongs, equipped with mats and hand weights, bursting with confident enthusiasm.

Here’s the way I prefer to learn new skills: I politely decline to participate, then I lurk in the background, watching carefully and taking mental notes, until I feel confident enough to join in without making a fool of myself. Perhaps that was how the aerobics class would operate. Wrong!

The stretching warm-up wasn’t too difficlt, although I still think if God intended my right foot to be behind my left ear he’d have put it there.

As soon as the instructor pressed the “play” button and the music began, I was in big trouble. The instructor, graceful as a gazelle, bowing and twirling, called out dance directions to the relentless, pounding rhythm of the music.

“Toe, knee, kick, kick, plie, and grapevine to the right!”

Wait a minute! Whose right? Hers or mine? Aargh! Wait! Stop!

There was no stopping. The class moved through the routine in unison, arms swinging, feet tapping, shoulders swaying, pushing and bumping along like a twig caught in an eddy. When they were moving right, I was moving left. When they were kicking, I was squatting. When they were swaying, I was flailing about as if I were being attacked by a swarm of angry bees.

“Now chasse to the left, march forward three steps, ball change, ball change,” she shouted.

Wait! What’s a chasse?

“Attitude! Attitude!” she shouted.

“Attitude this, Lady, I grumbled under my breath, or what was left of my breath, and I “flipped her the bird.”

After that, I lost the will to continue trying. Oh, I still showed up for a few more classes and went through the motions. They just weren’t the motions everyone else was going through, and I no longer cared. I just decided to have some fun while it lasted, or until they threw me out. That’s me: a free spirit, an independent thinker, a rebel without a clue. A few weeks later the instuctor kept me after class for a discussion.

“Before we get started,” she said, “do you mind if I ask whether you suffer from some sort of seizure disorder or perhaps have accidently stuck your toe into a light socket here at the gym?”

“No, Ma’am. I just can’t dance. Never could.”

“Ok, but what’s with the bizarre costumes you’ve been wearing to class? Two weeks ago, you perfomed the entire routine (badly, I might add) while wearing a wetsuit, a snorkel, and a pair of flippers. Last week it weas a grass skirt, a coconut bra, and a lei. As for this weeks’ outfit, I’m just speechless. Balloons and feathers alone do not constitute a costume. I appreciate your unique sense of style, but there’s no place in the Dance Aerobic organization for bumping, grinding, and shimmying. And that pole at the edge of the dance floor is intended to support the roof, not used as a vulgar dance prop. You’re about five minutes away from an arrest by the vice squad.”

“Some of us dance to the beat of a different drummer, miss,” I said as I gathered my belongings and tried to keep my bouquet of balloons in position to cover my girlie parts. “Can I help it if my drummer was a back-up musician for Gypsy Rose Lee?”

2 thoughts on “Some of us Dance to the Beat of a Different Drummer

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