I live in Michigan where we are proud to experience the four seasons.  We Michiganders relish the great outdoors so we can frolic in the sand and snow.  Leaves falling from the trees as the rain comes pouring down – making the ground slipperier than snot?  No problem!  We learn how deal with hydroplaning early on.  It drops down to 0 degrees Fahrenheit?  Not to worry!  We will just bundle up in our snowsuits to go skiing.  Wind storms or tornado’s in the spring?  We just rally around our community, clean it up and build something bigger and better.

When it comes to hot temperatures, however, you would think we would have the same cavalier attitude we adopt with our other seasons.  That isn’t the case.  People just bitch and moan – carry on about the weather, the humidity, the strength of the sun beating down.  Heck, recently we even had some roads melt.  Ok, I guess that is a cause for some complaining.

But really, who doesn’t like pulling up the weather to show you that it is 82 degrees out, but the RealFeel is 104?  I love the feeling of sweat trickling down my back when I’m not even doing anything.  You might as well just accept that if you are in Michigan you will be wet in this kind of weather.  We don’t know the meaning of “dry heat.”  If it is hot, then you can bet it will be humid.

This is the type of weather I dance in.  The studio I go to (http://www.miss-liz.com/) does not have air conditioning.  Miss Liz loves the heat, for it is this kind of weather she pushes our flexibility and encourages growth in our moves.  Once my hand is on the barre and we begin class, I don’t even think about how hot I am.  I look around at all the other dancers who are just as flushed and “glistening” as I am – we are dancing.

I can remember steps fairly well, although grace and skill are not necessarily my forte.  I have found that in these extreme heat environments, my mind is not fully functioning.  It is a shame really, because it is in these temps I get this “I don’t give a damn” moments where I push my body physically in ways I wouldn’t in the winter when I am cold (for the studio isn’t heated well in the winter).  I stretch my body, pushing for height, leaping through the air like a gazelle…. only to realize I’m not doing anything close to what I’m supposed to do.  Because of the various activities I have done in my life, I have found myself in the spotlight, which means I have publicly made mistakes in the past.  I have developed tactics for covering up these mistakes.  In ballet, when I realize my error I almost always do an arabesque, which allows me to segue either back to the dance or gracefully exit the floor.  I don’t know why I do the arabesque other than it is a beautiful movement that momentarily stuns my teacher and gives me the opportunity to bring my mind back on track.

I did that tonight, which caused some dazed looks among my fellow students.  I think I might have even surprised them with my enthusiasm over creating my dance.  I’m not sure if the fact my teacher didn’t correct me was because the heat momentarily blinded her and she didn’t see my glorious improvisation or if she was laughing too hard to get words out.  In any event, I quickly learned the “correct” dance and all was good in the studio once again.

I can’t imagine not having dance in my life.  I love the music, the camaraderie, the physical endurance, and the passion.  I love summers in the studio, even with the humidity.  I love seeing my skirt blow from the fan, even though I’m so hot I actually can’t feel the wind.   I love that my hair starts falling out of its bun and it curls into these ringlets I can’t duplicate any other time.  I love getting so warmed up, I feel like I can do anything (even though I must exercise caution, because that is how I felt last year when I tore my hamstring).

It is all well and good.  So, underneath these complaints about the weather is just a girl waiting until it is time to dance.