Sunday, November 15, 2020

Birmingham, AL: COVID-19 Unfolding, Part 888: Learning to "Dance" in COVID Times


Lincoln University dance recital, Jefferson City, Missouri. April, 2010.
Lincoln University dance recital, Jefferson City, Missouri. April, 2010.

 Before COVID

Since my time in South Louisiana, dancing had comprised a significant portion of my physical exercise, bringing with it a lagniappe of deep pleasure and, often, joy. 


Onset of COVID

But in March 2020, while in Tucson, my dance practice plummeted from some to none when COVID-19 slammed that door shut. My body and spirit suffered from the separation.

As I readied for my Tucson departure, the dearth of dance opportunities for the foreseeable future threw up a big ol' DETOUR sign from my original first choice of New Orleans (dance! live music! youthful energy!), pivoting me from one set of destination goals to another, just as worthy.  


Living with COVID: A new "dance"

Happily, I have stumbled on a COVID-safe way to dance in Birmingham.


I began weekly tennis lessons last month via the James Lewis Education and Tennis Foundation. Below is a story of the foundation, executive director and gifted coach, Rudy Lewis, and the foundation's inspiration: 


The lessons are outdoors, the skillful coaches wear masks (as do most of the students, including me), and only the coaches are allowed to touch the balls or other tennis paraphernalia with their hands. The coaches sanitize all of the balls and rental rackets prior to the lesson. The pro shop practices a variety of good COVID practices, as well.

I'd never have imagined it, but learning to play tennis feels exactly like learning to dance! (Albeit, with no music, alas.)

Tennis' dance requires me to learn:

  • Signals from my opponent that tell me what their next move might be, such as their body's position, where they are on the court, and the angle of their racket
  • My foot and hip placements in relation to my intermediary "partner," the net
  • My foot movements as I position myself to respond to the ball
  • What I choose to look at before, during, and after my response
  • A graceful, confident completion of my stroke
  • The angle of my racket ("open" or "closed")

You'll notice all of the above relates to me being, let's say, the "follow." This is because I haven't learned how to serve ("lead") yet.

There are even "dynamic" warm-up drills that translate directly to my fitness, flexibility, and dexterity for when dance returns, such as: 

  • Carioca (zydeco!)
  • Side shuffle
  • "A" skips

At least during this honeymoon period, I am in love with tennis and its dance soul. 

Related posts

From South Louisiana

From St. Louis


No comments: