As we enter into week…4?…5?…eleventybillion? of Covid-19 stay-at-home life, I’m definitely looking for ways to keep my monkey mind occupied and my cooped up body from permanently assuming the shape of the kitchen chair where I currently spend my workdays.
I’m a former theatre kid, was a legit drama major in college, started my career at Manhattan Theatre Club, and have a tendency to burst into song during meetings. And so it is not an exaggeration to say I shrieked out loud when I learned that Debbie Allen – YES, THAT DEBBIE ALLEN — is offering dance class via her Instagram.
It has been my dream to have Debbie Allen yell at me in dance class since I was 13. And so, I put on my leggings, t-shirt and sneakers (all the while wishing they were leotards, tights and Capezios, which I no longer own, but which used to comprise 50% of my wardrobe – the other 50% being sweatshirts with the neck cut to look like Jennifer Beals in “Flashdance”), moved all the furniture out of my living room (I live in 900 square feet with two other people, so you can imagine how this was received by my husband and daughter as they did parkour over the coffee table to gain access to the bathroom), and got ready to START PAYING IN SWEAT.
I was terrible. Comically terrible. You’ve seen videos of a newborn giraffe standing up for the first time? It was like that, but not cute. It was as if I had just discovered there are feet attached to my legs which are also connected to my body and those legs can be used for something other than holding up my torso in my kitchen chair. Eventually, I just lay down on the floor and watched Debbie, and then I put on the episode of “Fame” where Jesse is in a coma and Mrs. Berg reveals she’s a medium. (This is an actual plot of an episode of “Fame.”)
I don’t know there’s a lesson to learn from this, except to say it was reassuring and comforting to remember that once, not so long ago and also a lifetime ago, I was a kid who loved dance class and theatre school, and had big dreams. And while those particular dreams didn’t come to fruition in precisely the way I imagined they might, they were sweet and sustaining during a chunk of my life when I was scared and sad a lot of the time, and terribly vulnerable – and they remain so. Because even though I am mostly made of kitchen chair now, it’s still fun to dance around the living room. I’m glad I remembered that.
…with your arms just like this?