Tag Archives: dork

I was once a dancer.

5 Aug

When I was young, I attended the South Jersey School of Baton and Dance.  I liked dancing, and I guess that’s what matters.  Didn’t matter if I was good, because I sure wasn’t.  I was always a step or two off, or performing my interpretation of the moves in the routine.  Our dance teacher, and owner of the place, was a woman who seemed as though she could have been a former Southern beauty queen.  She had a long, lazy drawl and a smoker’s voice.  She died in 2009.

She smoked cigarettes and drank iced tea in the studio, which was the front of her house. I took jazz.  In my class, she wore her high-heel jazz shoes, a one piece black leotard with an elastic belt, black tights, and pink leg warmers. I imagined how fun it must have been to wear that outfit all day, changing shoes as needed, jazz to tap, tap to ballet. My mom always made me take my leotard off once I got home, and I never had jazz shoes.

But that did not stop me from grooving, from performing for audiences of stuffed animals to routines involving jump ropes, my desk chair, and a costume change, one in which I began as a shy, nerdy-type, but once I felt the groove of Hall and Oates’s “Private Eyes,” I just couldn’t help but let my hair down, rip off my glasses and strip off my frumpy clothes to reveal a sleek and shiny bathing suit, (since I couldn’t wear my leotard), that could just let myself go in.

I also took baton twirling lessons with her, but never excelled at that in the special way I excelled at dance.

I'm third from the left. (Click to make bigger.)

In this photo, I’m the one wearing the wrong color shoes.  They were not the requisite white Capezzio jazz shoes, which were, like, forty bucks. I wore my velcro sneakers.

Check out those super-flash-dance, one-piece, flourescent costumes. They came with satin b-boy hats.  (I can only blame flourescent fashion of the 80’s on cocaine.) I think this is 1983.  God, I wish I remembered what song we were dancing to.

Please also note the man in the audience wearing no shirt. Our recital was on the Music Pier on the Ocean City boardwalk, but really there’s no excuse for not throwing a T-shirt on for your daughter recital.  Maybe a muscle shirt, or a cut-off?