I tried acro and it literally made me cry.

I’m not a little bitch, I swear.

The description for the class (at my favorite pole studio) said that “Acro” was great conditioning for pole, and would smooth out transitions and floor work. Perfect, right?

It was also a Level 1 class, so I was like, “Mkay, I’m not going to know what I’m doing, but I’m a fit person, I can handle this!”



Here’s the thing: I have tools for approaching most forms of dance or exercise. I know a few things about body alignment and positioning, posture, and safety (using core to protect the back, keeping shoulders retracted, tucking the chin to protect neck and head while inverted).

But some stuff, I have no way of approaching. It disorients me. I have no idea what “right” feels like, or looks like, and it’s so jarring and unfamiliar and dangerous-feeling that I’m just totally petrified by it.

There is one category that singularly encapsulates these types of movements that terrify me, and they can be contained by one word: Gymnastics.

Let me throw out a few other words and phrases to define my terror:

-All my weight on my hands? But that’s what feet are for.

-You want me to fling myself through the air with my head being the closest thing to the ground. oh…kay. On purpose????

-I don’t want to put all my weight on my head, even if I can use my hands. That’s how breaking necks happens, yes?

-I can’t jump over my own leg. What? How? I don’t… what?

Here is a sampling of the exercises we were instructed to do–in groups of two/three, while the rest of the class watched, for extra enjoyment.

-Go into a handstand. Come down. Do a pushup. Pike your hands to your feet. Repeat across the room.

-Lean backwards into a bridge on one hand. Sweep the other hand around and down and lift a leg into a split. Sweep out of the bridge on the other hand. Roll over into a plank position and do a pushup. Pike to standing. Repeat across the room.

-Some kind of new fangled cartwheel that you do a fancy turn out of. (I was so tired and frustrated at this point I couldn’t see straight, so I don’t remember the finer points).

About 30 minutes into the longest hour and a half of my life, one of the acrobats in my class (because really, none of these people doing handstands like LOLthisiseasy could be called “level one students”) noticed I seemed… off. I thought I was doing a good job of covering how close to stress tears I was, but I guess trying to hide my quivering lower lip by taking a sip of water and then dumping my water down myself (because my lip wouldn’t stop quivering) was probably less than subtle.

I think the conversation went something like this:

Her: “Are you okay?”

Me: *blubbers unintelligibly*

And then she went to go get the teacher to help me. Which was very nice, but a new form of torture altogether–the clumsy idiot receiving special instruction from the teacher while froggy jumping next to flawless handstands is not a fun role to play.

I got through class, but, here’s the sad thing: I kind of want to learn these skills! I just don’t ever want to back to this class ever again though. Someone tell me–if people are doing perfect handstands in a level one class with no special help, where exactly are you supposed to start?

And does anyone else have a full body aversion to going upside down NOT on a pole? It just feels so open and terrifying to me. My body literally won’t let me do it.

How do you leaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarn.

(Please tell me).

In other news, the universe is fair after all, because I my first ballet class at my gym (re: NOT a dance studio) and I was by far the most coordinated person in there. Which duh, it was a bunch on non-dancers. But it was really healing for my ego. Updates on my rond de jambes to come!!


  1. Ha ha! That was hilarious. Maybe start in a pre-class or some sort of basic/fundamentals class? That definitely did not sound like what my level one gymnastics skills look like… Good luck!

  2. “And does anyone else have a full body aversion to going upside down NOT on a pole?”

    ME! I’ve made a conscious effort to start working on my headstands, forearm stands, and handstands at home, alone, where no one can see me fail, and it does get easier with practice. Pinky swear. But it still terrifies me, and even more so if I have an audience. I started by following a 30 day handstand challenge on Instagram, and by day 16 I had my kick-up handstand against a wall!

    I just took an Acro Dance workshop from Nadia Sharif on Saturday, and when working on cartwheels she split us into three groups: those with solid cartwheels, those that have fugly cartwheels (Nadia’s words, not mine;), and those that aren’t anywhere close to leaving the ground. I was in the last group. What I loved is that she gave us all a challenge appropriate for our level, which means every single person accomplished something new. It sounds like the problem with your class is that everyone were expected to be at the same level.. So I wouldn’t give up on Acro/Gymnastics, because it can be so rewarding, but keep trying new instructors until you find someone who knows how to properly teach all levels 🙂

    • Fugly cartwheels… Dying, lol. I love your dancing Nina so this just made me feel soooooo much better. And congratulations on your kick up! I think my fear is mainly about falling through so I should try that at home. <3

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