Tap today.  I am still feeling deeply ambivalent about this class.

Erin is an awesome teacher.  And the style of tap she does (rhythm tap) is quite different from the usual “showy” stuff that I did as a kid (and you probably did too, at some point or another).  No big flashy arm movements, no “shuffle off to Buffalo” – the moves are small, the rhythms are complex, it’s seriously cool.  And freaking hard.

And I’m in the level 5 class.  Geez.  A little over my head, but I think I’m holding my own.

Thing is, Erin doesn’t consider me part of the class.  At all.  She considers me a drop-in.  She specifically told me I’m not allowed to be in the recital with them.  Of course, they’ve already started the recital piece – I’m learning it anyway, and it’s fine for now ’cause they aren’t in any kind of formation, but it’s gonna get really weird at some point when they’re all lined up in specific ways and moving in specific ways and I’m the creepy old person in the back, trying to figure it out while staying out of the way.  Especially if the ONE other adult student doesn’t keep coming.  She’s pretty inconsistent with her attendance, I don’t know what to expect.  And beyond that, Erin just doesn’t seem to *want* me there.  She never gives me any kind of feedback – praise, correction, nothing.  I got my fill of that when I was in Kaitlyn’s jazz classes.  I loved her as a person, but she only paid attention to a small handful of our GIANT class, and the rest of us might as well have been invisible.  I’m getting that from Erin.  If I try to respond to things she says in class, she kind of looks through me.  The other week, when we were working on the dance, she’d added a few 8-counts on to what we’d already learned, and I was struggling with one of the transitions.  Now, I have this tendency that when I’ve been wrestling with something, and it goes well, I look to Diana (she teaches almost all of my classes this year…) with a grin, hoping that she’s seen it – and often she has and I get a smile in return.  Such a small thing, but it makes a huge difference in my outlook.  Well, we ran through it once more and I GOT IT.  Had no trouble with that transition, or any other.  Automatically turned around to catch Erin’s eye – she was looking RIGHT AT ME.  And couldn’t look away fast enough.  The barest minimum smile possible for the sake of politeness.  It did NOT feel good.

We haven’t had class for the past 2 weeks.  First competition this past weekend and the teams weren’t ready, so she was using our class for team time – since me and the other adult are the only two in there who aren’t also on the team.  I got my hands on the song we’re using and rehearsed the piece a few times each week, while I was there cleaning, because I knew the girls would all forget it – they were focusing on team stuff – and even Erin tends to remember the rhythm but forget the details of the steps, on occasion.  And each time I ran it, and spent 10 or 15 minutes working on various sections that were giving me trouble, I’d have this bizarre combination of satisfaction and anger – like “hey, I’m finally getting it – and why the hell does it even matter, if she won’t even acknowledge me?”.  Sigh.  And it’s weird – I work just as hard on jazz pieces that I know we’ll only do for a few weeks and will never be performed.  But I guess the difference is twofold – that this WILL be performed, just not by me, and also that at least now in jazz I get some kind of feedback from Diana.

Needless to say, I found myself really not wanting to go to class this week.  Lost track of time, didn’t get showered/shaved/ready to go until the last minute, didn’t get my laundry done in time (almost had nothing to wear), all kinds of subconscious self-sabotage.  Also, while we weren’t having class, I had an extra tuition hour that I could use some other way, and I got to go to the Thursday lyrical class instead (since I basically don’t have a job anymore) – and I found that I kind of preferred it that way.  Sigh.

Sucked it up, decided to act like a grown-up and go to class.

And tonight… was really different.  Erin met my eyes.  Responded when I responded to things she was saying.  Gave me a correction in our pullback exercises.  I was starting to feel like “who are you and what have you done with Erin?  And whatever it is, would you keep doing it so you can stay?”.

Then came time to work on the dance.  She decided to run us through it first, see who remembered what, before jumping into review.  At the end of the run through, there were exactly two of us who proved to remember it.  Both of us are the type to kind of hide in the back of the room, too, which was amusing.  When we finished, and I’d NAILED IT, I turned to her – not for acknowledgement, this time, but almost defiantly, like “you don’t want me?  Really?  I’LL SHOW YOU!”.  For a minute, I even thought she might ignore me and just review.  But no – she pointed the two of us out as the only ones who knew it, had us come to the front of the room for the rest of class so the others could watch our feet (supplanting one of the girls who essentially TAs that class because she’s so good – but SHE hadn’t remembered the dance), and even consulted with ME a couple of times to be sure she was reviewing it right.

I have NO CLUE what changed between this week and the previous… few months, actually.  If it had just been the past few weeks that had been like this, I would have blamed it on the stress of the competition coming up.  But things have been weird since classes started this fall.  So, not the VAGUEST idea why tonight was different.  And, me being me, I’m not allowing myself to believe that it will stay this way.  But damn, it felt good.  Feeling like an outcast in class is pretty miserable.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. danielaidi
    Feb 15, 2012 @ 08:29:12

    Awesome that you nailed it. Your dedication showing through in may ways….


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