I was chatting with some Vermont friends the other day – we were trying to coordinate some sort of get-together. “That weekend won’t work for us,” I said. “We have my dance performance.”
There was a beat of stunned silence. “Your…what?” they said.
Ohhhh riiiiiight. It’s funny what gets normalized, and I had completely forgotten that most normal 40-somethings aren’t deciding to turn their night-time dance classes into a show. With tickets.
Obviously, I blame Laurel for this entire situation. She started – years ago – these solo latin dance classes (no partner required), and a bunch of us started taking them religiously. We’re talking salsa, bachata, reggaeton, and latin house (a Laurel-specific specialty) and they’re tons of fun. But because Laurel (like most good dance teachers), is a little nuts, through sheer force of will she has somehow turned her army of moms into exactly what she’s always wanted: A Dance Team.
For the upcoming show, Laurel’s segment has eight (EIGHT!!) difference choreographed routines. In addition to her regular dance classes, we are all showing up for Saturday rehearsals that last roughly 3 hours. And it didn’t dawn on me that this is anything other than totally normal until I was chatting with folks outside of our Philly bubble.
But here’s the thing: Yes, all of the other acts in the show are legit professional dancers, and yes, Laurel sometimes screams at us in rehearsal (she’s wayyyy nicer in class FYI). And yes, we’re trying to figure out coordinating (but cool) stage outfits. And OF COURSE I’m frantically practicing my steps at home (and maybe a few times in the grocery store) because, see about the note above about the real-live PROFESSIONAL DANCERS. But as much as I’m all How Did I Get Here LAUREL DAMMIT, there’s a part of this whole bananas concept that is really, deeply gratifying.
I honestly can’t remember the last time someone held up such a high bar and demanded that I meet it. Maybe high school?? Those opportunities are typically reserved for kids. And frankly, the fact that Laurel so obviously believes we can – all of us! – that we can do something like this feels really, really good. It’s why we all show up on Saturdays, why we keep practicing our steps, why we dance with water bottles between our knees, holding towels so our arms don’t go wild during the complicated footwork, and why we’re all willing to work so freaking hard.
I have no idea how the actual performance will go…and honestly? It doesn’t really matter. The process of getting there has been good on a deeply fundamental level. It’s soul-nourishing, during a time in life that can be so depleting.
So yeah – do your thing, Laurel. I just feel so lucky to be one of the “dancers” in your orbit.
ps. Mike also got roped into some of the partnering routines – ha! The sucker never can say no to Laurel.
My most-worn tank right now. I’ve been wearing Vuori’s Mudra Plyo Tank to almost every dance class, and LOVE it. It’s one of those pieces that doesn’t actually look like a workout tank, though, so I’ve just been keeping it on and sliding into a pair of jeans. I have the black (in size medium) but need to get a few more colors.
Ooooo…gray. My favorite travel outfit of all time just came out in gray. The elegant lines combined with the gray sweatshirt material is such a cool combo.
Weekly outfit inspiration…goes to a summery, fresh take on straight-leg jeans. I’d add these flip-flops (probably in navy), and any sort of boxy, swingy top. This is the exact top featured, but Everlane’s boxy crochet shell would work, too.
If I worked in an office…I’d pick up one of Eileen Fisher’s linen tanks. The drape is freaking fantastic, and you can bend over and look at someone’s computer without anyone seeing down your shirt. (This also comes in handy when volunteering in schools, too.) I’ve also found that this more conservative tank is an almost gamine offset to my super short cut-off shorts. One of those useful pieces that work in multiple situations.
Postpartum or perimenopause? Either way, J.Crew’s ruffle-sleeve shirtdress is cuuuuuute. It has exactly the right mix of tailoring and irreverence to pull off ruffles in a non-obnoxious way.
Top find under $100. It’s hot, but my legs aren’t *quite* ready for primetime (I do love me a little self-tanner, but get the mitt, too). Anyway, when Spring feels more like summer…this dress. It’s 100% cotton, under $70, and couldn’t be easier. I’ve been drooling over it since last summer.
Cool hand towels. I picked up these totally bizarre fuzzy ball towels for the kid’s bathroom and they’re awesome. Not only do they NOT constantly slip off the hook, but because of their shape, the kids just use them to, ya know, dry their hands – they don’t end up on the floor like our other hand towels. And they’re realllllly cute, too.
April showers. I bought this umbrella for Mike a while back, and it’s GOOD. If anyone is looking for a really useful Mother’s Day gift, I highly recommend it. I keep stealing Mike’s (it’s red!) but Mike, if you’re reading this, I’d like the yellow. 😉
The best book recommendations. Whenever I’m stuck for something to read, I head on over to The Modern Mrs. Darcy’s booklists. They’re fantastic.
Speaking of Jane Austen fans…Check out @onemorechapterpod on IG. The therapy session skits of Jane Austen characters are one of my favorite things right now. Here’s one of Emma in therapy and here’s Elizabeth Bennet (one and two).
Making on repeat. Our oven is fixed and our kitchen is – mostly – livable again, so I’ve started baking. Mike remarked that it finally feels like home when there’s homemade health muffins and cookies around. My health muffins are made without a recipe (with varying degrees of success – they’re hard to replicate, haha) but the cookies I’ve been making are these vegan chocolate chips cookies from Okonomi Kitchen. They really are the best vegan choc chip I’ve found.
Cheers to the weekend…