My First Dance Class: Hip-Hop

Bucket List Item: Take a beginner’s hip-hop course: COMPLETED

Ever since freshman year of college, I keep trying to break into the dance world no matter how many times I’m kicked away. My first year in Ann Arbor, I tried joining the Ballroom Dance Team. For those of you not familiar with it here, it’s crazy intense and eerily reminiscent of speed-dating when you’re all trying to lock down long-term dance partners.

Unfortunately, many of the older dance pairs were actually couples in real life, setting a kind of precedent for us hormonally-charged, confused freshmen.

Well, today, I tackled it again. In Ann Arbor, the sole dance studio on campus lies behind this tiny door between two large shops that lead up to the studio.


Imagine this between two stores.

Frosted window and a door the width of the Locky (Matilda)? Do you want me to run away screaming?

So I walked up the stairs and knew immediately that I was going to rock this. I was born to dance. I wasn’t going to be like the awkward people in the back who are only awkward because, clearly, they’re self-conscious and have no rhythm.


I sat there by myself, grinning happily as I imagined how my childhood dream of being a kickass dancer was about to be realized. People tell me I dance pretty well on the dance floor, how much harder can this be?

This feeling lasted until I walked past the main dance studio into the closet-sized one in the back, with a class size of maybe 10. What is it with me and small class sizes this summer? It’s like the universe is forcing me out of my shell.

Anyways, I walked in and suddenly, my entire body was moving too slowly. The simplest hop-steps that I’d practiced in my room back in the day suddenly tripped me up. Not to mention the regret I felt in the way I dressed, clearly presented in the wall-to-wall mirrors.

Holy shit, I’m Richard Simmons, I thought. I brought my Tom Cruise dance to Step Up. 


Even though it was only a 45 minute class, I was very aware of all the uncomfortable thoughts running through my head.

  • The growing horror as I saw my dance moves for the first time in broad daylight. Thank god in clubs, most people are taller than me and don’t have the privilege of this view, because it hurts so bad. 
  • The awareness that I was staring way too intently at the girl-instructor’s ass, trying to figure out how her hips moved while her legs did that one thing called walking—kidding, it was like a sway. Since she was also facing the mirror, she was probably all too aware of my eyes glued to her ass. Did it stop me from continuing to stare? Nope. When I commit to being uncomfortable, I go all the way.
  • I also realized that no matter how into it you are, nothing will take away the stink of awkward dancing if you don’t know how to move your appendages correctly.
  • Whatever form of dancing is done on the dance floor of a club, no matter how good you are at it, does not count. There, I just wave my body and wiggle the hips with the rhythm. Here… you have steps combined with arm steps and body rolls. No one can control all that at the same time! AGH. HOW??

After the class, I felt pretty silly for thinking that I’d be a natural at dancing. It was a pretty uncomfortable situation to find myself in, especially during the part where she had us dance across the floor in groups of three in front of the whole class. But in these situations, I’ve found that just giving in to the embarrassment and opening yourself up for vulnerability will just make you better.

I wasn’t sure if I was going to return, mostly because of the cost of the classes. But then I saw a sign saying they had a Groupon for a 7-class pass.

So I went home and bought the 7-class pass Groupon.

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  • Karisa Tells All

    you’re brave! I look like such a dumbass when I “dance.”

    • Michelle

      let me tell you… that lesson absolutely did nothing for my “dance” skills hahaha.