Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Dancing and Wrestling Nerd Style




I wrestled with a girl last night. A thin, muscular woman whose name I don't remember, but whose strength was impressive. It was a sweaty twisting game on a well-padded floor in semi-darkness, and one of the many exercises our leader had asked us to do in Dance Alive. That was an hour into the class.

In the beginning, we stood in a circle and gazed at one another. We were told to be unafraid, to really see the other person. I smiled, knowing that without my glasses I could only see silhouettes. This made me invulnerable. There were about 20 people in the class, men and women of all ages, including two pre-adolescent boys. I arrived with a friend who'd done this before, and we partnered for the opening exercises, which were free-form and involved "being the movement, not directing the movement."

My mind is never at rest, and I don't want it to be, so I faked it. The music was eclectic, but in the beginning trended toward erotic-meditative-swirling. Some people writhed on the floor. At least I think that's what they were doing; I could see them well-enough to not trip over their bodies. The music switched to a native drum beat and we let our bodies move, freed our voices. I led my partner in a native-american stomp alternating with war whoops and giggles. 

"Surprise your partner!" A wild romp of tag ensued. "Switch partners!" A chase, a feint, a tickle, a slap on the ass (from me on a tall blond girl). The sweat-drenched humidity in the room rose and I thought about taking a microbial sample from the carpet, but I had no slides, have no microscope, and no access to a lab. I'm just paranoid.

My friend disappeared, but my wrestling foe/friend entered my blurry sphere. At one point, I had her pinned to the ground, our thighs intertwined, upper bodies twisting. "You've done this before," she said.  True.  We crashed into two grunting guys. "They should offer wrestling at 24-hour fitness," I said, teeth clenched. "We could teach it," she said, and then slipped, slick and lithe, from my grip.

The final half-hour of the class was pure dance club. Wild. Ecstatic. Joyous. I hung out in the hallway for part of it, overheated, then leaned out a back door into the cool night air. The door opened to an alley. An ancient tree stump is there, not small, right up against a building. The yellow street light cast interesting shadows on its twisted gnarled bark. 

Next time, I'm bringing my camera to photograph it.