Attitude: it’s in your hands.

Thinking about hands.
‘Cause, like, every week in pregnant yoga class (or Fat Yoga, whatever you wanna call it) we start in a seated position, with our eyes closed and our hands resting with palms turned up.
Open hands are inviting, we are accepting energy or blessings from the universe or whatever,
-Except you know the Adult Beginner has read Way Too Much science fiction to just put an open invitation out there like that. Who knows what kinda Mike-Mignola-esque Ecto-Caterpillar Ragnarock looking mofo is out there waiting to accept my invitation? Better be safe and put a caveat on it, like, Attention Universe! Now Receiving Positive Energies Only! This Vendor Has The Right To Refuse All Applicants Wishing To Rip Hole In Space/Time! Omm, Mofos!-
So anyway I’m sitting there with open, accepting hands, thinking about ballet class and how an up-turned palm is a such big big No in ballet.
Because apparently somebody will come along and put a pancake on it.
But aside from the pancake thing, the hands thing totally makes sense: in yoga you are seeking something, you are requesting something, you need something. Maybe you need calm-ness, maybe an answer to a question, maybe you need a challenge and then a chance to relax.
In ballet you need nothing! You are complete! Haughty even. More than complete, you are tha bomb! You have everything you need, you accept nothing, you certainly don’t put a hand out and ask. Shuh. How gauche.
I’ve also been taking a belly dance class,
which is really great for keeping the back and hips loose as the belly gets bigger and tries to pull everything out of alignment. Even more better: I like to imagine the baby is like, “whoah, what the hell?! What’s with all the jiggling?!”
So I’ll be in belly dance class, knocking off some mayas and ommis, noticing the teacher’s hands. All belly dance teachers have soft, stylized ballet hands. I think because belly dance teachers are also performers, and they take the occasional ballet class to refine their lines.
Because ballet is the base of everything.
You can see it in that tricky moment when a belly dancer moves her hands from overhead, palms facing each other, I Dream Of Jeanie style, and then float down to hip level, they Always turn their palms downward before anyone can come around with a pancake.
So I was thinking about why they do this, I mean after all, when belly dancers perform, they Do want something. And not just any old something, they want your money! They want you to hop up off your tuffet with a handful of bills on your palm and make it rain!
(And apparently this is the preferred way to tip a bellydancer: a shower of bills that float down like leaves rather than an awkward handful of dollars stuffed into the waistband. A belly dancer friend told me once that not only is Making it Rain more respectful, as there are some cultures where it’s not ok to touch the dancers, it also allows her to keep on with her dance without pausing while you fumble around.)
Ok, so they’re dancing, they’re wearing sexy costumes, you know they’re dancing for tips, they receive money but they never ask for money.
How do they do that?
It’s the hands!
They’re expressing an attitude of I Don’t Need Anything. It comes across as demure instead of ballet’s haughteur, but it’s the same basic thing.
And you respond by throwing money or roses or standing up and cheering Brava not because you were asked to but because you Want to.
So I’ve also been doing some swimming lately too. Like that it gets the heart rate up. Walking just doesn’t do that for me, and I stopped jogging pretty early on when I realized there was no sports bra In The World that would make jogging while pregnant feel ok.
Noticed something the other day, while stretching after swimming my laps: I am Totally judgemental of how people use their hands while swimming.
If you are bashing away at the water I probably won’t share a lane with you, as it broadcasts that you have very little swim-training and will be an inconsistent swimmer and get in my way.
Why so mean, Adult Beginner?
Lucky for me other people were more welcoming when I showed up at the barre all claw-fisted and untrained.

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About adultbeginner

Had my first ballet class Ever at the advanced age of thirty-two. Yikes.
This entry was posted in Technique and Class, the Body and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Attitude: it’s in your hands.

  1. Nadine says:

    Hilarious AND profound. Brilliant!

  2. Adrienne says:

    I am also very judgemental of people who splash around with their hands while swimming, totally hear ‘ya. And interesting thoughts about palms up / palms down…

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