Monday, June 16, 2014

"Nobody puts Baby in a corner"

In my life, I try very hard, NOT to define myself with a label.  Once you get, or give yourself a label, it can be very difficult to break free.  That doesn't mean I don't have preferences, it just means that I try to stay open, especially regarding things or issues I think I might not like. 

Weekend casual
Purple linen pants and black linen top by Bryn Walker
Armful of African bangles from Arts Africains
White watch from Jest Jewels
And so it is with style.  For me, choosing one style would be boring.  I could no more stay with one style, than I could live in one house, in one city.  I'm too much of a free spirit.  If I had to describe my personal style I would say it's a blended combination of several styles, ever evolving and resulting in a distinct look that says "me".

which brings me to a story....
Channeling my "dirty dancing"

On a whim, in 2005 at the age of 55, I took a class called the Art of Exotic Dancing for Everyday Women.  It was a fun class held at the famous Arthur Murray Studio in San Francisco.

There were about 10 of us in the class.  All shapes and sizes. The music was a perfect blend of top 40s and good dance tunes.  I had no clear idea what this class was about and so had no expectations, other than filling my Sunday afternoon with something new and different.  The instructor gave us a short demo of a dance  -- we would ALL be able to do by the end of the class. The 10 of us bonded quickly and we had a lot of fun as we slipped into our high heels and strutted our stuff in front of the huge wall of mirror.  By the end of the class, in addition to learning the dance, I was surprised by how much we discovered about ourselves (which had nothing to do with pole dancing or stripping).

The company was just beginning to offer classes in the Bay Area and the instructor approached me after class and asked me if I might be interested in going to their Philadelphia headquarters to take the full instructor's course, and then teach my own classes here in the Bay Area.

After some thought, I decided to accept the challenge. 

There were about 70 people in our classes.  At 55, I was the oldest student.
The classes were pretty intense and often lasted well into the evening hours. Class included both written and interactive participation. 

What is the Art of Exotic Dancing for Everyday Women?

The Art of Exotic Dancing for Everyday Women is an exotic dancing class that has less to do with exotic dancing and more to do with transformation, self-confidence, authentic self-expression, freedom, joy and real personal power. 

Graduation Gala and celebration

Graduation photo (group 1)

Saying goodbye to my new friends (dressed in jeans and on my way to the airport as I had travelled the farthest to attend class)

In case you are wondering about how my story ends...I completed the course and became a certified instructor.  I taught classes in the Bay Area for about 2 years.  Teaching self esteem enrichment techniques and helping women to become more of who they are was one of the most fun and rewarding experiences I've had. 

(NOTE-  for those of you who are too young to know and/or for those who just plain can’t remember –  “nobody puts baby in a corner” is a famous line from the movie Dirty Dancing 1987)

If you want to dance outside your box....

The classes are still available (nationally) for more info click here
And....Since then I've also taken hula classes - inspired by my beautiful niece Maile.
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  1. Love your weekend outfit and this looks like so much fun!

  2. Thanks! I have to get over to Chico's to see what they've got.

  3. Wow!Freedom from label-living! It's so fun to change it life and with clothes. Labels don't mean too's all about feeling good in what you got! I never knew you taught dance...sounds so fun!

  4. See there, you learned something new about me. It occurred to me that I have met many new friends and acquaintances AFTER 2007 that might not know about my dance instruction:) Time flies!