My New Career: Music Video Backup Dancer 

150 150 lovelight

I have an announcement, and many of you have already seen it coming. I am adding a new skill to my resume. I will now open my schedule to offers for my appearance dancing in the background of professional or amateur music videos.

My skills, honed over the last three weeks in group dance classes at GoFit gym in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, are specific to a lot of Seal Paul, salsa, and some B-girl sassy flare. You can talk to my agent after this blog.

OMG it me! Please imagine I look just like this woman during GoFit's exercise dance classes, because I sure do (imagine such).

I know my competition for a spot is strong. Some of the men and ladies in these classes not only learn the entire sequence, but they have an impressive of physical fitness and joie de vivre. That’s what I’m going for. We all work up a sweat while pretending we’re in the background of a music video. Or is this just me?

I go three or four times a week, and these group dance classes are giving me life. I pair the dance class with stretching or lifting weights, and always a 15-minute sauna afterward. That’s called “habit stacking,” and it’s a proven hack to get you in a routine. I’ve taken some boxing classes, which are pretty kick-ass. I’m not sure I’m in touch with my warrior spirit.

But if you know me, you know I’m a dancer. I love moving my body to live music; I think of it like a physical expression of what I hear. Dancing helps me pay better attention to the music! You know what Bob Marley sings about music: When it hits, you feel no pain.

Not that I’m dancing to Bob Marley, unfortunately. There is a Sean Paul medley that brings me back to my years of living in the Caribbean. But the rest is a bunch of reggaeton, salsa, bachata, and some surprisingly hardcore B-girl jamz that remind me of my preteen years dancing in front of my mirror.

Now, I’m at a genetic disadvantage, as a gringa, dancing to the salsa and bachata, and a lot of the reggaeton, too, if I’m honest now about my new resume skill. Many of the old ladies would be picked before me for the next salsa music video background dancers.

But, when requested to by the unnecessarily loud music, I can “drop it low, pop it up, abajo ….” I’m also pretty good at the 90s-era “Rock Your Body” Backstreet Boys move, which is a little like the Thriller choreography I once learned during a stay in New Orleans.

I also feel at the front of the pack as an American at the end of one song with gym choreography of finger “guns in the air” partnered with the lyrics “I bring the pain like rat-tat-tat-tat!” I feel my heritage of rich gun culture makes me especially equipped for this move, or at least the attitude necessary to properly execute it.

If I were to be really honest here, I’d say on my best day, I’d be picked tenth in my class to back up a star in a music video. But then, that also presumes a talent scout for Beyoncé or Justin Timberlake would saunter into GoFit sala dos to look for amazing dancers. Did I mention I’m definitely in the lower quadrant of age? Most of my classmates are over 60 years old.

OMG it me! No, no ... I'm not so foolish to think I'm Taylor Swift! I'm gonna be one of the backup dancers -- as soon as the talent agent discovers me in gym class.

Still, there we all are, shaking it. Not everyone has imaginary professional aspirations like I do, but then — not everyone thinks big. You have to reach for the stars. Well, I’m doing it. Literally, too, with the choreography: We reach and step, reach and step, then the other way, reach and step, reach and step.

The gym instructors, of course, make it worth the loud, objectively bad music. I go so regularly that it’s not only a music video playing in my head. There’s an entire Netflix series soap opera called GoFit in there, too.

There are characters like Ana Sara, the spunky dance instructor who makes encouraging, extra-wide eyes when it’s time to change the step. She twirls her finger in the air when it’s time to spin our bodies and holds up a two when we “double” the right step. Then there’s Carlos, the young, mustachioed stud who forgets to lead us in both sides in yoga class but all the ladies forgive him. I don't know the name of Señorita Drawn-On Eyebrows who works the front desk, but I've never seen her smile and I think about what could be upsetting her.

I may be taking the daily classes, but I’m certainly not chatting any of these characters up. Everyone speed-mumbles in a language I comprehend so slowly that it’s frustrating. I’m not making much progress in Spanish, but I’m keeping at the lessons and listening. It hurts my head a little.

At least, you’d presume, I’m super-fit! I mean: Wow! She’s doing awesome with going to the gym every day! She’s lifting weights about three times a week, taking cardio classes, and even hitting the sauna with all the old hairy guys every single day! She hasn’t visited a bakery in a few months, and she’s only had a few “ice cream incidents” over the past month. Hydration, meditation, even intermittent fasting!

I was feeling good when I stepped on the InBody scale this week to get some validating metrics for all my sweaty effort in dance class. Ana Sara, who helped me analyze the results at the help desk at the gym, used her big eyes to look at me sympathetically: It seems, in the last month of squeezing sweat out of my pores and focusing on my health, that I’ve lost an entire one pound and somehow, according to the scale, gained 0.1% of body fat. I lost 0.1% of muscle.

No wonder the background dancer talent scout for the hottest music videos hasn’t been calling. Ugh! I’m regressing!

I also feel like I’m moving backward with recording the audiobook of One-Way Ticket, as I needed to first get familiar with Final Cut Pro. I'm learning how to edit both audio and video, and it’s more than I’m currently required to know. But it’s good to get an education before starting on a big task.

I’m not really regressing, of course, regardless of what a stupid hunk of computerized plastic tells me. I may not be moving forward toward my goals as fast as I’d like, but such is the way of self-improvement. The rate of improvement isn’t linear. The graph starts a slow accent and may even seem to dip down for a moment before it shoot upward toward mastery. I feel that slump, though.

Here's a graphical depiction of why it's so hard to stick to the work necessary to reach a goal. There's a point where you are moving backward before surging ahead. Source:

Sometimes, I see that slump in the dance class mirror. Like today, I can’t lie: I did not have any coffee before I left. I was not completely impressed with myself as I was dancing Alingo. To be really honest, I was tired. And so, when I got home, I rested. Put that on the resume.