Almost 2 months ago I was brave enough to share with the world an endeavor I planned on exploring in hopes to find a physical distraction for my anxiety. This brave new experiment was taking a Modern Contemporary dance class at The Visceral Dance Center in the Logan Square neighborhood here in Chicago. My teacher was Phillip Elson and let me tell you, he was beyond fantastic, but we will get into more of that in a few. In a recent post after my first class, I stated I felt defeated and had no idea if I could go back and try again. Past dance experiences filled my mind and my anxiety went into overdrive, making concentrating on what I was learning in the first class almost impossible to comprehend. If any of you are friends with me on the FB, you know this is all hearsay at this point because I did go back and made that dance floor my bitch in a big bad way.
My experience with dance this time around has been nothing short of legendary in regards to who I am as a person and what I have been silently struggling with over the last couple of years. Now that I have completed my first set of classes I can honestly say I found something which could help me in more ways than just exercise. Each week my teacher Phillip pushed me out of my comfort zone with dignity and respect which in turn caused me to blossom like the flower we all know I can be. As the weeks went on I found something in myself I didn't think existed anymore. This amazing inner confidence started to beam out from within me. I honestly thought I lost that spark somewhere in my mid 20s around the time of the great crash of 2009. I am certainly glad now that I didn't and something as simple as taking a dance class and pushing myself out of my anxiety comfort zone helped pull it back out of me. Needless to say, this experience has been transformative and I couldn't thank the studio, my teacher and other class mates for the pleasant, welcoming environment and I am more than excited to continue this endeavor with an open mind and heart.
The second to last class I had, Phillip let the HMBB (Heavy Metal Bearded Boyfriend - for those just joining us on this adventure) attend to photograph the class for this piece. I was so nervous to have him in class with me that day. He has never seen me dance before. Sure, I have done a few of my sweet moves I have learned around the house but that was nothing in comparison to having him sit and watch me intently as I learned new content etc. He has seen me booty dancing at the clubs before but none of that type of dancing I take seriously, it's all in good fun and I look like a complete idiot while doing it. This class has been very special to me, thus why I have worked so hard to keep up and do all the moves as correctly as possible. I can be serious when I really want something and this experience has been no different. So, yeah I was incredibly nervous at first when the HMBB came but after a few minutes it was kind of empowering having him present. I wanted to show off for him and let him be a part of something that was changing who I was as a person. I would glance over at him from time to time in-between dance sequences and he was just smiling, beaming even, from ear to ear. My heart was just exploding for him in those moments. I was so happy to share this experience with him and having him there just pushed my confidence even higher than before.
I guess the point of all of this is to realize it is never too late to try something new. You are never too old, and there is never a better time more than the present to seek out and accomplish things you might think you cannot do. I waited for years to do something like this because I was afraid of something that happened a long time ago. I am glad that I finally stopped living in the past and started living in the present. It is a liberating experience to say the very least to do something like this. I am pretty excited to see where the next chapter in this saga will lead me and how I will overcome the next set of obstacles laid in front of me. After this experience I have been given a little more confidence to not be so afraid of change, or trying new things. As long as I put my heart into something and try 100% without giving up the end result is going to be rewarding regardless if I am a naturally gifted dancer, writer, photographer, crafter or whatever else I have on my plate at the time or not. The lesson is to never give up on something you are passionate about even when the odds are stacked against you and you can't see the light at the end of the tunnel. The light is there, and it is waiting for you when you're ready at your own time and pace.
I want to give a large shout out to the Visceral Dance Center, my teacher Phillip Elson and the community within those walls. They are strong, unique individuals who create beautiful works of art through dance and are gracious enough to share those teachings with people like me who don't have a clue in the world what they are doing, but try really hard. Also a big shout out to the founder and director Nick Pupillo for starting this amazing center and letting us all be a part of your vision.
I would also like to say a very large THANK YOU to all of my friends and readers who have been so supportive during this 6 week journey. The outpour of support whether it be on here or on my personal FB has been overwhelming and inspiring. I could not begin to thank each and every one of you enough for the constant encouraging words and the personal stories you have also shared with me. They really have affected me in the best possible way. Your support means the world to me.
Below are photos the HMBB (Shea Hardacre) took in the fifth week of the beginners Modern Contemporary class at the Visceral Dance Center with teacher Phillip Elson. I edited all the photos the best I could - they aren't the best but HMBB tried his best with the 5 minute photography lesson I gave him before class started. The center was founded and directed by Nick Pupillo. Interested in classes? Check them out on their website www.visceraldance.com for more information.