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“All good things come to an end, and sometimes so do bad things, like my relationship with my ex boyfriend.”

This week marked the end of my first term at Sky Sirens; it went like most things do, slow at first and then suddenly it was over. It felt a little bit sad to know that the people in my class, who I had become so used to seeing week after week, would no longer be part of my weekly routine, but it also felt great to know I had finished something, (other then a university assignment, and a whole Cadbury’s Family Block).

 When I first enrolled in Sky Sirens, I assumed it would attract a particular type of person. I had this stereotype in my head.  A confident girl, that wears lingerie as outerwear, owns a lot of red lipstick and has been doing dance classes since she could walk. I found that intimidating, I own a lot of red lipstick, but I think I did two dance classes when I was about six and my teacher recommended I just sing for our final performance and not worry about the moves. My hopes of becoming Nikki Webster were dashed, before I even knew Nikki Webster existed.

I can remember looking around in my first class and being surprised that everyone did not look like I had imagined. My Beginners’ class consisted of six people; Brittany, Gareth, Madison, Kimberly, Nadia and me. No one was secretly a famous burlesque dancer, everyone was just themselves and that was very comforting.  Originally, I had thought the idea of being in a class was a bit intimidating, that I would have to be in a small room with strangers watching me fail at Lyra, but I was surprised by how much I enjoyed being part of a group.

 I looked forward to seeing the same faces every week, where we would all discuss our personal lives and also the things we were finding hard, or easy, in class. Once when I sat outside class Maddie and I encouraged Nadia to book tickets to Melbourne while using After-Pay. She had not confirmed a place to stay yet and when she came back from Melbourne, we were relieved to hear she had found somewhere to stay, and we had not given her terrible advice that had led to her living on the streets for a weekend.  On our final night, Kimberly announced she was moving in with her boyfriend, and it was nice to know she was excited to share something important happening in her life with the class. It reminds me a lot of being in high school, but without the crying in the bathrooms occasionally because you did not get invited to a birthday party, or someone calling you a slut.

 One of my favourite parts about my Lyra class, besides listening to amazing pop music, became seeing everyone, week after week. Nailing a move for the first time was always so much more fun when you could hear everyone clapping for you. Everyone rooted for each other to succeed and it was nice to feel a part of something. I imagine Nick Carter felt the same when he joined The BackStreet Boys

This week, because my Lyra classes have come to an end, it made me reflect on why I enrolled in the first place. I enrolled to have fun, to feel stronger and to try something new. But I also wondered what had motivated my classmates. Out of all the beginners’ classes, Lyra felt the most foreign to me. I even had to ask Katia what Lyra was. I also wanted to spell Lyra as “Leah”. So I asked everyone in my class to tell me what made them take the plunge. Bad break up? A desire to be Dita Von Teese?  Desperately wanting to be more flexible?

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 Gareth enrolled in Lyra, I’m pretty sure as an excuse to wear more active wear. Because he always looks amazing, like he should be in a The Upsides’ Catalogue. (The Upside is an expensive active wear brand that trophy wives like to wear.)  But the official reason Gareth enrolled was so he could meet new people and try something fun and different. Kimberly was attracted to Sky Sirens as a place, I mean it does have a flamingo wall, and anyone that says they have not wanted to take a selfie next to it for their Instagram is a liar.  Kimberly also got her friend Brittany to do the class with her. That gave her the confidence to sign up. Brittany describes it as being,” dragged along,” but in a nice way!

Madison wanted to do something new, and also I had asked her if she wanted to do the Lyra class with me. When we were about six wines in, she agreed. My suspicions are, that she might have agreed to anything, including investing in a soy candle business, but thankfully she doesn’t regret it. Nadia used to dance as a kid and had never really found an activity to do as an adult that brought her as much joy. Lyra seemed more fun then going to a gym.  It is an eclectic group.

'“We are all different ages, have different jobs and come from different areas around Sydney. Yet week after week we turned up to the same class. We may have had different motivations, but basically we were all doing something just for ourselves. Which is fabulous. And not unlike Carrie Bradshaw announcing her engagement to herself in Sex and the City.”

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There were times during my Lyra term where I felt like I was the only one struggling, or the only one that felt like they’d never be able to master a move. This may be self absorbed, but being a diva is something I AM good at. Still, when I took the time to ask everyone what they struggled with the most, it was comforting to realise, that although everyones’ answers were a little bit different, they were mostly the same. Everyone struggled with believing in themselves and feeling capable. Kimberly found it hard to develop arm strength, Maddie and Nadia found it hardest to overcome mental hurdles and struggled with self doubt, and Brittany found it daunting to do something that felt sexy to her. Gareth had a more practical issue; Gareth is deaf and found it hard to learn the steps whilst also spinning in the Lyra hoop. But despite this, Gareth nailed every move about three times faster than me and always looked a lot more graceful.  

 Even though everyone had their own struggles, everyone had their own victories. I watched week after week as everyone learned moves they had struggled with the previous week. I saw my classmates’ shocked faces when they nailed a move they had previously thought was impossible, and I found the level of support heart warming. 

“Everyone always clapped for each other, always found time to compliment each other, and always found time to share a joke in between moves.”

Just like everyone has their own struggles everyone has their own Lyra success stories. Gareth has proudly claimed to me that the best part about Lyra is the Mermaid. It’s a position in the hoop I am yet to master, but Gareth manages to do it effortlessly and uses any free time in class to get his body into that position.  Kimberly has loved finding a new obsession and being part of the Sky Siren’s family. Brittany loved meeting new people and getting more and more confident every week. Madison reckons the best part is being pushed out of your comfort zone in a supportive space, whilst also seeing her own improvements every week. Nadia loved meeting new babes and having something consistent in her weekly hectic roster of juggling university/work/love etc.  

The best part for me has been the fact I have simply embraced the whole experience. I have embraced the ups and the downs. I’ve embraced the lessons where you feel like you can do nothing and then the lessons, where suddenly it all clicks in your brain and you feel like Dita Von Teese. I’ve also embraced meeting new people, which is hard to do outside of work when you are an adult. (It was great to meet people that could not report me to human resources).  Just like everyone else in my class, sometimes the biggest hurdle has been myself, and realising I can do something, if I just keep trying.

But at the end of our final class this week, I felt a wave of sadness that I wouldn’t get to see everyone, week after a week. Yet I was also just happy. I got to have this experience with them. We had all failed and succeeded together. 

“It’s not everyday you get to try something new in your adult life and I am just very lucky it was with these particular people who made the experience much more special. They made classes fun, they made me laugh when I failed, and together we all completed our first term of Sky Sirens.”

 

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