It’s 8:00 on Saturday morning. Jennifer Lopez’ “Dance Again” blasts full volume through the room, and nearly fifty women, all of us glistening with sweat, dance in unison. “Chasse, right,” our instructor shouts. And a roomful of women (and one very brave man) move across the dance floor together. “You should see how beautiful you all look!”
I glance behind me, seeing row upon row of women, clad in brightly coloured aerobics gear, and moving together to the beat of Lopez’ music. They’re glowing with what might be exertion or what might be pure joy. And they do look beautiful.
The energy in the room is electric.
This Saturday Morning Dance Party, as our instructor calls the class, is a gift to myself, an hour to lose myself in the joy of movement. I love to dance, even though I’ve never taken a formal class in my life. I love the energy. I love that moment when I get completely lost in the music and it’s just me, pushing my body hard to the dance-beat rhythms. Here, on Saturday mornings, I stretch and strut; I chasse and shimmy; I shake my booty; I dance hard. I work out without realizing I’m working out. It’s not until we get to the floor work at the end of the class that I even notice I’m sweating. I’m just here to dance, for the pure exhilaration of moving to a high-energy beat.
After my divorce, I realized how much of myself I’d given up in service to family and relationship. I knew I needed to reclaim myself, to start feeding my soul with those things that fueled me. I remember asking myself what I most wanted in my life, and wanting to dance was at the top of my list. I hadn’t danced in so long! And so after a very long hiatus, I returned to Jazzercize class. I had attended these aerobic dance classes regularly through my twenties, and sporadically since then. Returning to those classes, I rediscovered the elation of dancing.
We’re dancing hard now to Flo Rida’s “Good Feeling.” And I have a very good feeling. I am energized, expansive and intensely happy. “Are you having fun?” Our instructor shouts. As the room erupts in whoops and cheers, I smile an enormous smile. I am euphoric!