Snow on your eyelashes you looked at me, smiled and said: “I must go to a dance class.” And there I stood in the snow.
I was 18, when Ultra Bra’s “Jäätelöauto” played on the radio. I had never been to a dance class. I thought to myself: this person seems pretty cool, must be a ballet dancer.
I thought dancing was fancy fun for fancy people. Dance schools and dance classes belonged to kids and youth richer and more talented than me. And dance performances were only meant for those adults, who live in the centre of a big city, wear furs and are able to discuss the nuances of the performance with sophisticated phrases. A very distant affair for a basic jynkkä kid like me.
Kind of funny, because I had danced tanhu when I was little and we even performed on the Kuopio Dance Festival stage at the market square, in 1988 if I remember correctly. My dear grandma taught me polka in her apartment, in the spare time she had from dancing herself.
How happy am I a) for finally having the courage to go to a dance classes when I was 25 and b) for changing my mind about dance being this elitistic thing of a selected few! Dancing is for everyone, you can dance anywhere. And you really don’t have to know how to do it in order to enjoy it. I only learned this as a grown-up.
I was glad when I was asked to be Kuopio Dance Festival’s guest of the month. Also a little confused. An old critic in me woke up: sure I have a relationship with the festival, but I am only a casual dancer. Why would anyone be interested in my life? Then I grew stronger.
I believe that there are many like me amongst the readers – maybe also people who haven’t quite had the courage to go to dance classes. People who will never be top level dancers or professionals. People who can still lighten up their mundane with the joy of dance. I’m a good example for that.
When I finally got started with dancing, I took classes every now and then, I took salsa, I took reggaeton, I also tried bachata (not my cup of tea) and twerking (just my cup of tea). In the summers 2014 and 2015 I volunteered at Kuopio Dance Festival as a social media producer. I really enjoyed the days when I wandered from one dance class to another dancing shoes in my backpack and occasionally dropped by the market place, harbour and the festival office.
In my memories, the sun was always shining, people were in a great mood and my hometown was at its best. As were my parents, who had the honor of taking care of my children and leave their car in my hands.
Home workout. Photo: Nina Enroth.
Later, I went crazy for Instagram yoga and started to play basketball in a casual team. When coronavirus arrived, I was happy to have the routine of doing yoga at home. But I still craved that endorphin burst I got from basketball. During one bus trip in January it hit me. Lust for dance.
A few hours later I had joined my friend’s salsa group that trained for the Finnish Championships about to take place three months later. Because who wouldn’t love a challenge!
Since, I’ve been working extra-hard to catch up with the rest of the group, who were at the halfway of the choreography by the time I jumped in. I have purchased the first dance heels of my life. I have danced in my living room, kitchen and workplace. I have trained with the group in the dance hall, in the kids room while trying to not step on a lego as well as in a parking hall.
The rush to learn was reduced by the Championships being postponed to August. I admit that dancing home alone is not quite the same as with the group and the coach, but it’s much more fun than not dancing.
I really don’t listen to music. That kind of makes me a strange person and dancer. I do like music, but it’s not part of my routines. Maybe that’s why dance gives me so much.
I hope August will bring the Finnish Championships as well as a chance to enjoy dance at the Kuopio Dance Festival. In the meantime, we might as well… dance.
Nina Enroth is an absolutely regular person who grew up in Kuopio, lives in the suburbs of Helsinki and works as a Chief Business Officer of the Bay Area marketing network.
Nina's yoga challenges can be seen on her Instagram. She has also promised to bring herself to post dance related photos and videos on social media.