Remember the Eighties? Disco was dead but the beat rolled on as women gathered in recreation centers, health clubs, church basements, and school multi-purpose rooms to shake their booties. Leg warmers optional.
I was there. Part of the movement. Working on the Board of Pat Drum Aerobics, Inc. and translating exercise choreography into stick figures (see above).
Last night I attended a reunion of the the PDA instructors (+ me), the fourth in about twenty years. We are creeping (and creaking) into our fifties and sixties now, but what sticks with me is the energy of these women. Really, what kind of woman do you have to be to be willing to learn and teach intricate exercise choreography, willing to expose all your physical beauty and flaws for the world to see, and organized and dedicated enough to show up with your kit of tapes/boombox/enrollment papers/etc. week after week, year after year? That restless, enterprising energy still characterizes the Drumistas.
Back in the day, I always felt awkward at a PDA party. The outie. They were dancers; I hunched over a drawing table. They were thin and impossibly fit; I was addicted to M&Ms. But now, the sharp differences have blurred. The 20-30 Drumistas who stay in touch are the ones who felt especially empowered by the experience — it put “change” in our pockets, affirmed how good we were (no matter what our talents) and made us feel strong and independent. Thanks, Pat!