Tonight I'm attending the second of five Intro to Breakdancing classes in Bethesda. It seemed like a good idea at the time. I'd been reading Jeff Chang's Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation and watching Planet B-Boy on Netflix. And I've always had trouble A) dancing and B) exercising, so why not learn to do both?
It didn't surprise me that I'm a bit short on the coordination necessary to be a natural breakdancer, or that my hip-hop attitude is somewhere between Don Draper and Michael Bolton. It shouldn't have surprised me how out of shape I am, especially given how athletic a style of dancing it is, but for some reason it did. I'm hardly able to switch feet during basic floorwork, much less perform something like a chair freeze. I'll probably be able to manage a decent top-rock (dancing from a standing position) by the end of the classes, but the rest is anyone's guess.
Belle has been very gracious about all this. She snuck me into one of the gyms where she's an aerobics instructor so I could use the mirrored room, and did some practicing of her own in the other corner. I know she feels like she could be in better shape herself, but she's capable of jumping around (while simultaneously shouting directions) for one-hour classes multiple times a week, while I do about thirty seconds of indian steps and then stagger around the room gasping for air. "You looked good," she says, perhaps on the principle that the last words I hear before my atrophied lungs give out should be encouraging ones.
I'll get through this class if it kills me. But let's hope it doesn't come to that.