A teacher in my Communication Class in High School once said: “If you children can memorize Eminem’s song, then you can surely memorize a 5 minute speech.”
She had a point there I thought. Eminem’s music was quite popular among us kids back then and I did know the lyrics out of my head…
So let’s give this 5 minute speech a try.
I practiced that speech on my daily walks, at the gym, before sleeping, waking up, in the shower – you name it. Not only was my teacher right, despite the first minute stage fright, I gave a hell of a good speech on my graduating year of Elementary School. I sang that speech with a smile and confidence that I knew every word.
Children are like sponges – they learn everything very quick
As a child, we all excel at learning. The famous saying that kids are like sponges, taking in all their surroundings and information, is no unknown. However, the older we get, the tougher it is to learn. Learning a new language is suddenly something like rocket science. Most of us don’t even try or think about the possibility. French…oh that’s difficult. Japanese….oh god no.
However, learning something new, being it a language or a new sport, or taking an art class is something we should all be doing. It activates different parts in the brain and maybe unlocks a new skills you never thought you had.
A new lesson: Salsa steps
You’re Spanish? Oh! Then you can dance Salsa very well!
After hearing most assumptions people have about Spanish people; That we can apparently all dance Salsa, I took my first steps at a dance school and discovered more than just dancing.
A very famous saying: Dance like nobody is watching. That works when singing in the shower but not in a classroom or a dance floor. However, after a few classes and being in a room with dancers which really lifted my ego, I was dancing and laughing all over the room. Me, shy? You gotta be kidding me.
My body likes routine, I walk a certain way and my hips moved a certain way. Suddenly I needed to learn how to move like, well, a salsa dancer. Memorizing steps and waiting for my limbs to interpret the dance steps I was sending, was something new. Especially when we were all going left and then suddenly had to go left, right and backwards o.O hello coordination!
Rhythm and footwork
If you’ve never danced before, the complex rhythms and fast footwork of flamenco would be too difficult to start with. With only a few classes in ballet at a young age, I decided to wait with the flamenco.
The biggest stumbling block is rhythm. Have you ever looked at a group of dancing children at a birthday party? They all dance when the music plays, but you’ll notice that some dance in sync with the beat, whereas others hop around with no reference to the rhythm (that was me!).
I call people who are able to keep time without thinking, very lucky. Because this is a hard skill to master. A lack of rhythm is by far the biggest obstacle to learning to dance – but it’s not rocket science. I used to think a sense of rhythm was inborn – you either had it or you didn’t.
A few classes later…
All of a sudden I was in a different world – songs with 12 beats to the bar, routines that started on 12 instead of 1 – even melodies in 3/4 or 4/4 time seemed to cut across the rhythm in strange ways. I felt I’d lost my sense of rhythm completely! But eventually, I learned.
A few classes in Salsa, goes to show that a sense of rhythm can be taught and is not necessarily inborn.
I encourage everyone to learn something new every day and this shouldn’t be something too difficult to take on. Listen to the people around you, everyone will have something new to tell. Ask questions, be curious.
Every once in a while, sign yourself up to a new course – to learn something completely new and if possible, a little bit out of your comfort zone. Who knows? You might develop a new hobby.
Never stop learning.
My next class? Bouledering