getting all existential after hip hop class

Ballet shoes Painting by Laine Garrido

I’ve never really known the meaning of the phrase “It’s like learning to ride a bike…” because I never really learned to ride a bike, at least not as a child, nor very well. But what I did learn was how to dance. And apparently, the saying is true for dancing as well, because last night, after at least fifteen non-dancing years, I attended a hip hop dance class and it all came flooding back.

Walking into that dance studio brought on a flood of unexpected emotions.

It was like walking into my own skin.

It was like coming home.

Burt family legend says that I emerged from the womb snapping my fingers. I choreographed “shows” starring me, myself, and I to the Mickey Mouse Club, Sean Cassidy and the Osmonds for my parent’s parties. And I refused to begin until everyone was silent and all eyes were on me.

I started actual classes at age five and danced off and on til my early twenties.

When I was eight, my parents had the extra bedroom converted into a dance room, complete with wood floors, a ballet bar and one entire wall covered with a floor to ceiling mirror. Hours upon hours I spent in that room and in dance classes; on my toes, twirling, jumping, posing. Ballet, jazz, hip hop. It really didn’t matter, as long as it was dance.

I was my true self when I was dancing. I was the happiest, the purest. I was me.

I have no idea why I stopped dancing. Fear of failure? Lack of motivation? Low self-esteem? A combination of all three? I think my priorities shifted as soon as my tween hormones kicked in. Suddenly boys seemed more appealing to hang out with than ballet bars. And then, as I aged, “life just got in the way” I suppose.

Regardless of why I stopped, I am now fighting the urge to dwell on regret, wondering what could have been if I had continued to dance. And wondering how it is that I have been away from something I love so much for so long. I only allow myself to sit with those thoughts momentarily before I snap back into the reality that is my life now. Which is wonderful; full of love and joy.

Last night was just a reminder to me that dance is still in me. Of course, I’ve always found ways to incorporate jazz hands or a booty pop into everything I do, but now, with this new dance class, in a studio, with a teacher and actual routines, I have the opportunity to feel that joy again, to express that piece of me that has been mute for so long.

And I can’t tell you how great it feels.

What is the thing that makes you feel the most joy? The most like yourself? Do you do it on a regular basis? Why or why not? Discuss.

P.S. The dance studio is called The Carlsbad Performing Arts Academy and the class is on Tuesday nights at 7:30pm if you’re interested in shaking your groove thang with me and a gaggle of mommy bloggers including Red Lotus Mama, Rock On Mommies, Mommy Loves Coffee and Hip Mama B.



  1. 1
    Jess says:

    I’m coming out there next week! I wish…but really…I will make it a point to be there for a Tuesday night. Woo!

  2. 2
    Christina says:

    I could see the joy in your eyes last night! I love this.
    I always wanted a ballet room in my house but that never happened. Then I wanted a skating rink in my house and that REALLY never happened ;)
    I love dancing (never really did hip hop- as you can tell by my lack in booty pop- more ballet, contemp and jazz) but skating is my passion. I wish I had the time, money and stamina to do it again. I wish I had a little girl to skate with. I could take my boys (and have) but they wouldn’t like the frilly skirts ;)

    • Mary says:

      I was thinking about your recent post on ice skating when I wrote this. I knew you’d be able to relate. I am so happy all of us are doing this class together!

  3. 3
    Jen says:

    This is so awesome for you. I am glad that you have found your passion again.

    For me, my passion is writing and telling stories. I used to make up stories and tell them to my sister every night before we went sleep. I stopped for a while but then I found blogging. I am really happiest retelling a funny story using the written word. :)

    • Mary says:

      You are such an awesome storyteller Jen! I can tell it’s your passion. Glad you I found your blog and get to share in your passion!

  4. 4
    Amy says:

    that is so great that you went to a hip hop class. the studio my girls take class at offers an “adult” jazz class that I really really want to get up the nerve to do. I’m afraid that “adult” will mean 20 something and not close to 40.

    it is amazing the peace a dancer at heart can find when she steps foot into a studio again.

    keep it up – at blogher you might just have to do a routine for us during the big parties :)

  5. 5
    HipMamaB says:

    are you sore today? I love that class… so sad to have missed it last night. But yea. None of you wanted to be anywhere near me last night.

  6. 6

    Um…. I’m sorry – why isn’t this post a video? ‘Cause I think I’m not alone in wanting to see some dancin’.

  7. 7

    I can feel the “settledness” in your “voice.”

    I love that you’ve returned to self with dancing.

    It’s important to remember these things.

    And to go back there.

    There’s so much wisdom in the things we loved as children and beyond.

    I believe in your jazz hands and booty popping!

  8. 8
    Jamie says:

    Are you me? I stopped formal dance training when I was 13—it sounds like we had similar forks in the road/crises of confidence. I took a great hip hop class a couple of years ago with a lovely gaggle of painfully white women and it was a blast. One night, some of the tweens from the class before ours were hanging out and watching. One of them said to me, “You really work it out there; you’re the best of the moms.” Best.compliment.ever.

  9. 9

    I thought I was the only adult who never learned to ride a bike as a kid. I lived for my roller skates or my ballet, tap and jazz shoes. Last night was so much fun in so many ways and I am thrilled that I got to share it with you! See you next Tuesday night!

  10. 10

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Theresa Seid and Red Lotus Mama, Mary Burt-Godwin. Mary Burt-Godwin said: @RockOnMommies @redlotusmama @MommyLuvsCoffee Oh, and I really did cry a little on the way home. :) […]

  11. 11
    Stephanie says:

    I could not have said that better….I feel EXACTLY the same way you do. Dancing is in us…FOREVER!

  12. 12

    oh, EXCITING!! good for you!!

    I’ve never danced, but have often considered taking adult classes at some point just for the FUN of it.

    I’m a drama/theater girl.
    I can’t wait to get back into performing again as well. Once my hubby gets a full time teaching gig with a predictable schedule – community theater here I come!

  13. 13
    Laura F says:

    You would laugh until you fell on the floor if you watched me attempt to dance for ‘real’. Therefore dancing is not what makes me ‘feel like myself’, in fact it makes me feel like a fool! So, what makes me tick? Creating beautiful things, beautiful spaces and beautiful food!

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