Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Dancing my ass off

I find my workplace very stressful. Not work, workplace (as in specific coworkers), and I'm finding exercise is a great stress reliever after some of the antics I've had to put up with. The knowledge that I had my regular African dance class tonight along with an hour long doundounba afterwards was about all that kept me from walking away from my desk today.

I can't put into words how much I love dance, and I don't know why it took me so long to get back into it after I stopped ballet. I did a couple of belly dancing classes and thought 'I should give this whole dance thing another go', but I never did. Here I am, over 10 years after I stopped formally dancing and I'm only now getting back into it. I love West African dance in a way I never loved ballet, there's a naturalness and freeness to the moves (if either of those are actual words, I like to make things up that sound real) and the cardio it provides is amazing. I don't even sweat that much when I'm doing a run!

After working on our soko dance for the beginners, we had a brief break while the other students and outside participants arrived for the doundounba as part of the Dance Victoria month long celebrations. In this case, the doundoundba is a Guinean circle dance (it's also an instrument and a specific beat), usually used for celebrations and it's pretty much a free-for-all with dancers entering at random or entering together to 'challenge' each other with their moves. The drummers struck up a beat and we had at it. Being fairly new and a little, well, sore from my class to be honest, I spent most of the time moving around the outside practicing my pulses and just enjoying watching the other students dance with such wild abandon. There are certain moves which indicate 'everyone join in' and once I got those down, I definitely got in but no solos yet... maybe next time.

I was having so much fun pulsing to the music, clapping along, and hootin' and hollerin' that it wasn't until my walk home that I  noticed at some point I must have gone over on my right ankle, my back was really sore, and my left ribs felt like they were out of alignment. Still, the doundounba was so much fun, it was worth the pain I'm going to feel tomorrow!

A note about the picture: I tried to find something in the public realm, but while Google gave me lots of posed picture, I was unable to find the craziness and informality that is a doundounba. So I stole (I prefer the term 'permanently borrowed') this picture from Moondance (the company I'm taking lessons with); it's one of their recitals from a few years back.

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