Pride comes before a fall... or at least sustained public humiliation. The minute I signed up for that Tuesday class I knew I'd made a fatal mistake. We were drunk on the sweaty swing tunes and the bumbling beginners' atmosphere and in our heads our six-count swing-outs were a cut above the hoi polloi. Why would we bother with intermediate classes when we could go straight for advanced? Why indeed.
A week later, and it was obvious that the dancing we'd done in our heads was not translating to our feet. To mine, in any case.
"Ow, she's hurting my hand!" my partner squealed, as I apologetically relaxed my death grip and tried to remember anything I'd ever known about lindy-hop. Our old teacher Simon used to start us off with a One, Two, We Know What To Do. Without his cheesy charms and the anonymity of a packed dance-hall I'd lost the plot, the beat, and all semblance of expertise. My body is a rigid cringe of embarrassment; my footwork a fudging mess of incompetence.
"I just can't make my feet behave" I quip to my severe-faced partner, as the cute, elvin teacher looks at me through narrowed eyes, wondering what she's done to deserve a pupil like me.
The "Truth Combo" she's devised to warm us up and weed out the weaker links gives me a syncopated tasted of the rhythms of rendition. Five minutes in and I'm ready to spill my guts and admit defeat. Yet at the end of the class she insists we are not the weakest of the three couples. Somehow this little sop to my pride makes me promise to practice, and stick it out.
Now the hours are ticking down to this week's class and swine flu is looking like a more and more attractive prospect.