Thank goodness we didn’t learn anything new at the Elsekka class on Friday. Instead we drilled on steps in the choreography that we’ve already “learned,” steps that Miss K astutely noticed were sloppy, weak, or downright awful. My problem is that so much of the choreography of Elsekka consists of moves that are new to me. As Miss K teaches each new section, I’m faced with steps I haven’t had in class yet, at least not at the speed demanded by Elsekka. I go home and practice like mad and come back feeling somewhat prepared to move on.
We have until March 31st to sign up for the dances we'll be performing at the recital. That deadline is now looming. I’ve already signed up for Jemileh. I can handle that. It is slow and lyrical, with plenty of pauses when you can gather your thoughts, as in “What’s the next step?” Not so with Elsekka.
For one thing, my brain isn’t ready yet. The Elsekka steps have not trodden my neural pathways enough to become almost automatic. And it’s confusing. Some sections repeat and others don’t; some sections we do twice, then switch to a different sequence the third time around. In the middle of the dance I find myself wondering, “Have we done this part twice already or not?"
Secondly, my body is not made for sharp, quick movements. Being tall and long-limbed, I do better with slow, lyrical movements. It seems I’m always a half beat behind in Elsekka, because either my brain or my body isn’t working fast enough. Or both.
The sign up sheet is hanging there on the bulletin board, rapidly filling up with names and check marks. So far, only two people have signed up for Elsekka: Miss K and one of the advanced students. The only other beginning student in the class hasn't decided whether she's Elsekka-worthy yet, either, for reasons similar to mine. If she doesn’t sign up, I may not either. It’s a small group, and mistakes will be obvious. I don’t want to be the dancer who stands out as the crummiest.
Even one of the advanced students hasn’t decided whether she’s going to do Elsekka. She gets terrible stage fright. She told us that last year she didn't tell anyone she was going to be performing, not even her husband.
A classmate said, “I don’t think it’s good to tell your husband everything, every thought that passes through her head.
I said, “My husband doesn’t want to know every thought that passes through my head.” In fact, if I natter on for more than 30 seconds, his eyes start to glaze over. To be fair, I tune him out a lot too, especially when he’s talking about cars or politics. And I needn’t concern myself that he’s going to read this blog. He’s not interested in that, either, which is fine. After all, he knows all this already. Except for the parts I don’t tell him for the reasons given above.
I go around saying that I don’t care what other people think. Usually this takes the form of, “One good thing about getting older is I don’t care what people think anymore.” In many ways that is true. It’s liberating not to care about whether I look good at the grocery store, to venture out in public without putting on complete makeup or doing my hair. I don’t stay up nights worrying about who does or doesn’t like me and why.
But the truth is I do care what people think, at least in the dance venue. Private embarrassment is one thing, but public humiliation is another.
Later --- I practiced for about an hour this afternoon, all the drills I could remember from Friday's class. So I feel a little better about Elsekka.