Touch You Up, Touch You Down

April 7, 2011 § 2 Comments

Last night, my new friend B (who is a fashion designer and fire dancer) enticed me to come check out a new movement studio in the neighborhood. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I mean, the first few text messages we ever exchanged went like this:

B: Nice to meet you, Jeralyn! Let’s hang out today. How about you meet me for Aikido at 6?

Me: Okay! May I borrow pants? Mine are in the wash.

B: You can borrow my pants. And have a drink.

(After relaying the text exchange to Mister Saturday Night he said, simply: Sounds like your kind of girl).

So I met her at the studio, where I also met a very sassy older German lady who knew B (fire breathing school?) and wore the kind of asymmetrical red and purple ensemble that screams “teacher!” Turns out, she would lead the class in Nia, a sensory based movement practice that combines martial arts and dance — the body in action! When I asked if it was going to be okay that I didn’t understand that much German, she said, “Ah, but you speak the birth language of Nia!”

Fast-forward twenty minutes, and I am lying on the floor on my back, shaking my arms and legs above me “like an electric shock,” and then quickly jumping up to “make the body dance like a snake.” This was followed by me doing some very slow Tai-Chi arm movements intermixed with the Cha Cha. We also ran around the room “chasing fireflies” and did several sickly looking shimmies. In between sequences, I was instructed to “touch you up, touch you down” which basically seemed like miming climbing a ladder and falling to the floor.

I thought I was having déjà vu from my days of Florentine gym class (where I had to get a doctor’s note saying I was physically fit enough to belong to the gym), when it hit me: I had been in this position before. 2005, the 92nd Street Y, with my friend Brooke’s cousin — quite possibly a fire breather (definitely a smoker), and a certified Nia instructor.

No wonder it all felt so natural.


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