High school dance classes may sometimes prove to be humbling experiences for teen-age girls, but what happens when you're the teacher . . . and you don't know how to dance?
Take Sunny Hills High School beginning dance teacher Janet Greene, for instance.
Greene, who also instructs two PE classes and a life science course, was told at the beginning of the school year that she was also needed to teach two dance classes because of an overwhelming demand for them by freshmen girls.
"They just assumed that since you're a female, you can teach dance," she said.
Greene's experience, as far as teaching dance goes, includes square dance instruction and PE classes, and one semester of dance instruction at La Habra High. She is presently learning the routines from advanced dance teacher Sue Beguin and passing them on to her students.
"I thought that after La Habra, I'd never have to do it again," she said. "I guess I was wrong!
"We did it to give freshman girls the opportunity to take dance. But I'm 46 years old, with arthritis in my knees--my body doesn't move like a 17-year-old's any more, you know. And when we speed up to full tempo, my body just won't do what it's supposed to do."
Nor does she feel her body looks like a 17-year-old's any more. "(Student) Terri Timmons may have complained about looking like a toothpick in her leotard in comparison to the other girls . . . well, I feel like a stuffed olive in mine!" Greene joked.
"I've got 30 years' worth more gravity than those girls do. Everything seems to 'settle' as you get older. Should I live through this process, I'll be but a mere shadow of my former self.
"But it's great," she continued. "I'm getting firmed and toned. I go home every day with aches and pains, just like the girls. We can commiserate together."
Those aches and pains are soothed, however, by a new spa tub Greene recently purchased.
"When I couldn't walk after the first week, I figured that it might be a good idea to get one of those," she said with a laugh.
Greene has more to worry about than just sore muscles, though. She often finds herself running from the PE building down to the school's science wing for her life science class with little time to spare . . . or to change clothes.
"This is the sort of stuff I wear every day," said Greene, deftly raising a leg clad in tights covered by bright red sweat pants. "I just throw something over my leotard and tights and go."
Teaching dance to teen-agers has also given Greene a new insight into modern music.
"I'm acquiring a taste for it," she said, "even though I'd rather be dancing to country-western music. I mean, in my day, prince was a mark of royalty; today it's a singer."
When asked if she's learned anything about herself by teaching dance again, Greene laughed and said, "Yeah. I learned that I'm over the hill!
"I've also learned that the students can be really supportive. Good students who have some background in dance have been really helpful with the routines. As long as the girls are patient with me, I know we'll get through."
And finally, Greene added with chuckle, "I've learned that if somebody asks me to teach dance again next year, the answer is NO!"