When I walked in at the last minute, there was no one there waiting. Just duplicates of myself on each wall. I thought maybe I was in the wrong studio. I turned to the side to see 4 projections of my 6-month pregnant belly – amused at the unfolding. There weren’t any mats, which seemed strange for a pre-natal yoga class (NYC is chock full of pregnant ladies devoted to yoga). Then the blonde, human-Italian greyhound swept into the room. I couldn’t help it, my eyebrows were high. “Hi, I’m Lisa” and Lisa began to fumble with the stereo system. Almost immediately, she attached a microphone contraption to her head, exhibiting its strength freely into the vacant air. She must have been over 6 feet tall and from the side she looked tabular – not one body part disrupted her long spindly line. More like a foal with a long blonde ponytail than a greyhound, actually. And very much like a foal who had just been born – the movement in her limbs seemed incoherent, and yet, she was evidently a trained dancer.
No one else came. The music began – loud – so loud that I couldn’t respond or ask questions. Her microphone came on and it was as if she had a class full of participants. No matter that it was just one pregnant me. She was a chronometer and there was no stopping her. Even when I was full on paralyzed by laughter, she continued to shout out the rhythm of pulsation: and 5, 6, 7, 8 – double time, pulse it! And her foal limbs (knobby knees and giant elbow joints) would enact the movement that I should have been doing, her hands delivering simultaneous claps. Never mind that the center of gravity shifts entirely for a pregnant woman – she was holding the bar, doing splits in the air with leg lifts at the top of the kick – rounded back, arched back. Hip, arm, leg, pelvis, neck shape combinations/contortions/convulsions with frantic transitions. 16 counts, 32 counts, charlie horses up and down my standing and working limbs. She would use my name – yelling “Come on, Emilie!” into the microphone, startling me out of tempo. Since she was calling no other names, it seemed to be proof that she was aware that we were the only two people in the room. I did wonder at some point, when lying supine with a rubber ball positioned awkwardly behind my back, legs in the air – scissor swindling my legs, trying to keep up with her manic tempo, whether I should simply get up and leave. I was almost certain that in her devotion she would carry on right up until the 2pm finish time. Hilarious. Lisa was a professional. And this was no pre-natal yoga class.