Tonight, while making dinner, I walked past Mike and, for some reason, said "V-step right, turn-step right." He smiled and asked me if I miss teaching step aerobics.
I said that I didn't miss the drama of teaching step class. I don't miss having to come up with choreography, buying expensive custom-made music, getting myself to class, dealing with the needy or over-dramatic students, etc. But I do miss something. I miss the euphoria I used to feel when teaching to an amazing class of students.
I used to teach a Sunday evening 6:00pm step class in the West Village. I had it for years. I would drag my lazy ass downtown after a night of partying and a day of recovering. Actually, the class was only seven blocks from my apartment but it was a long seven blocks on a late Sunday afternoon when all my friends were out doing much more interesting things. You get the picture. I would teach a 5:00pm conditioning class (which was always full) and follow it with the step class. I always dreaded going to teach the class but once I got there, it was fine. Especially when the step class started.
There would be Mike, Jon, and Emily in the front row. Jeffrey and Liz in the middle. John (who had dropped about 150 lbs. by taking step classes) and Richard in the back row. Plus, there would be about another 30 people who would populate the class. It was busy. I often asked what the hell they were all doing there.
I would start the 55-minute class with a ten-minute warm-up. Then, all hell would break loose. Almost always, about 25 minutes into class, I would abandon my step in front of the class and jump onto the weight box in the back of the room. I would continue teaching the class from atop the weight box BUT, instead of doing the moves myself, I would do what some observers would call a bump-and-grind act. Yes, folks, I would basically hump the windows... much to the horror of the crowds on the cardio floor.
I would like to say that I am not sure why I did that. I do know why though. The energy in the room was just amazing. The fact that all I had to do was call out the routine and they class would just get it was... was... almost terrifying. The energy that they all brought on a Sunday evening was almost too much to handle. I always needed a way of releasing it all. And for some strange reason, acting like a crazed go-go boy was how it all came out.
All that energy actually didn't disappear. With this group, it all just keep getting fed back. I would act out more, they would eat it up more, and send it back a lot more. It was downright mad. It didn't help that the DJ who sold me my exclusive custom-made music was a pure genius. A tourist who once took class told me that he had never ever felt the type of energy from the crowd and music except from a circuit party. I can only describe the feeling as euphoric. I can't say that this was all because I was a good teacher or that my choreography was mind-blowing or that the crowd was so giving. I do think it was a combination of it all.
Somehow, on Sunday nights on 10th Street, all the good energy converged to create a moment where anyone in class forgot about all their problems. Where only joy existed. Where nothing mattered but us being together. Feeling good about each other. About ourselves. About the moment. We were on top of the world. And anything was possible. And though it lasted for only 55 minutes, it was all we needed.
I miss that. A lot. Later.