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Our Dance Class Disaster

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My family and I have recently moved from Brooklyn, New York, to Bradford-on-Avon, England, for a year. Our mission: try out life at a slower pace. In my new series Brooklyn to England, I’ll write about the weekly adventures of living in the English countryside with my British husband, our three-year-old daughter, and my baby-bump (I’m due in September!). Come with me as I go from strollers to prams, diapers to nappies, and whatever else it takes to raise a family abroad.

I first heard about Groovy Movers dance lessons when checking out The Fat Fowl, a local restaurant/ coffee house with a dedicated kids area on the second floor, aptly named The Roost. Once you figure out how to unlock the most f*cking difficult baby gate on the face of the planet, The Roost is a really lovely, bright, and airy room filled with soft-play toys, books, and even a slide leading into a mini ball pit. Up another step, amid cozy wooden tables, the kids classes take place — things like toddler French lessons, infant massage, and “happy feet” for new walkers. As with everything, Trixie was tentative about joining the Groovy Movers drop-in class, so I did the good-mom thing, squatting and jumping and twirling like an idiot — all in 30-degree heat (that’s about eighty-five fahrenheit) and an achy baby-bump.

But it worked. Trixie enjoyed it enough that we bit the bullet, signing up for Rachael’s weekly Groovy Movers dance class on Saturday mornings (or as they say in England, on a Saturday).

For the first sesh, I figured I’d leave lots of extra time considering I don’t really know my way around town yet. We hopped on the bus (“One way to Trowbridge Road, please!”) and hopped off at the chiropractic center, where I was told the class took place. The parking lot was empty, the doors locked, but I thought, That’s okay. We’re 15 minutes early. Surely the teacher and other students would be arriving soon.

Except … Nobody. Showed. Up. With five minutes to spare I called my husband, frantic, and asked him to look up the location of the class. 

Guess what? In a town the size of my thumb, it turns out there are multiple health, wellness, and chiropractic centers. And we were waiting in front of the wrong effing one.

With three minutes to spare, I put Trixie up on my shoulders (now that my bump keeps me from carrying her on my hip) and ran — and I mean ran — the equivalent of about seven city blocks back down the Trowbridge Road, past the round-about and the library, over the bridge, through the outdoor market, and into the other chiropractic office. Of course, by now we were five minutes late. The kids were in tutus, wiggling their bums to Pharell’s Happy, and any hope of an early, stress-free entrance was completely squashed. Instead of treating myself to a relaxing cup of tea at the Grumpy Badger like the other mums, there was a 3-year-old glued to my leg. I could not loosen Trixie’s vice grip. Once again, I had to kick off my shoes and be a rocket ship, a hopping bunny, and an ice queen for the inevitable Let It Go climactic number.

Once class ended and the other mums breezed back in to retrieve their children, Rachael, the petite, ex-professional dancer-turned-teacher came up to me with a bright smile. “Trixie really warmed up after a while, eh?”

“Yeah, she did well!” I said, wiping sweat from my brow.

“But, um, next time?” she said sweetly. “Perhaps you might bring her a few minutes early? Might help her feel more comfortable.”

Part of me wanted to collapse in a heap on the ground, banging my fists against the Pilates reformer tucked away in the corner, and wail that I had been early. I had been 15 minutes early, it’s just that I had gone to the wrong sodding place (and I think you can guess what sodding means).

But I didn’t. I smiled, buckling Trixie’s shoes, and said, “Good idea.”

Photo: Getty