ROAD TO DANCE: STEP #9 • WHY A DANCE SCHOOL?

oldies

Cowgirls and Grapevines

Then came LINE DANCING. It was good exercise, but some of us (mostly my Mom and me) couldn’t remember the routines. We stepped to the right, stepped to the left, we faced left and then right, and there was some hand-clapping going on. I discovered that I could either move my hands or my feet—but not both! Not at the same time, at least.  There was a lot of grape-vining and cowboy music and we already had the recommended cowboy boots, and after all, isn’t it all about the shoes?

 

 

ROAD TO DANCE: STEP #8 • WHY A DANCE SCHOOL?

chicken

World-Famous Chicken Dance!

On a trip to Portugal with my parents, my sisters, and my cousin Cathy, we went on a boat trip for the day. We stopped for lunch on some island and had barbecued sardines, which only my Dad and I tried. When they’re not in a can, those suckers have a lot of bones! Who knew? Our after-lunch activity (for about 100 of us) was a dance around the pool, lead by a local guy who smiled all the time, but had no teeth. The dance was the world famous CHICKEN DANCE!   Local guy was an awesome chicken dancer. No special footwear required.

 

 

 

ROAD TO DANCE: STEP #7 • WHY A DANCE SCHOOL?

hawaii

Two Little Brown Girls

More in Vancouver, we thought we would try some HAWAIIAN dance classes. It was taught by a 98-year-old lady. Her sound guy was another old lady named Freddy who used a walker and a cassette player, which she couldn’t really operate properly. There was a lot of swaying, some vague hand movements, and something about “a little brown girl in a little grass shack in a little something something called Hawaii.” Sometimes, we wore plastic leis. We waited for the day the little teacher would collapse and we would have to call 9-1-1. Never happened. We did not buy the recommended grass skirts and leis.

ROAD TO SAM’S: STEP #6 • WHY A DANCE SCHOOL?

keepdancing

We Swung on One Coast or the Other

In Vancouver, we tried a few dance styles. With my Mom as my partner, we tried some EAST COAST SWING—at least we think it was East—neither of us can remember which coast it was! Our teacher wanted us to rotate, which is normal practice for group lessons. But it was in the summer, it was hot, and my choices for leaders were the guy whose jeans were way too tight in all the wrong places, the guy who wore hiking sandals and socks to dance, the anti-bathers (there were several of those), and the guy who could not, would not look at me. We asked to be left out of the rotation! (But we bought the right shoes.) It’s all about the shoes!!

 

 

 

 

ROAD TO SAM’S: STEP #5 • WHY A DANCE SCHOOL?

seniors

Keep Dancing (Avoid the Throw-up)

When we moved to Arizona, Mom and I enrolled in another ballroom class. The teacher was a hundred-year-old little lady. It was ALL old people–and me. The highlight was the day one of the men threw up while dancing and the teacher told us just to KEEP DANCING, but go around rather than through the throw-up. (The old guy was okay.)

 

 

ROAD TO SAM’S • STEP #4 • WHY A DANCE SCHOOL?

 

mother-daughter-2

Moms Make the Best Dance Partners

My Mom and I took BALLROOM dancing, which was offered occasionally at the school gym.  My friends thought dancing was too sissy, so my Mom was my dance partner.  It was awful AND hilarious. Mostly, it was a lot of stumbling around to music. My Mom has natural rhythm and was a teenager during WWII so she learned to both lead and follow. I didn’t learn much but we spent time together and we laughed. A lot.

(Still not us in the photo!)

ROAD TO SAM’S: STEP #3 • WHY A DANCE SCHOOL?

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Our Bellies were a No-Go Zone

My friend Lennie and I took a BELLY DANCING class. It was ridiculous, and we were ridiculous, but the best parts were finding scarves with jingly things on them to wrap around our waists and watching our other friend, who was very overweight, do the exercises. I didn’t say we were kind! But we laughed a lot. At her AND with her. She laughed at us, too. Because, well, we ALL looked really, really stupid. I wish I had pictures, which I would cut myself out of and post to embarrass them.

 

 

 

 

 

ROAD TO SAM’S: STEP #2 • WHY A DANCE SCHOOL?

jazz hands

We Had Jazz Hands

There were many highlights in my early dance days, all of them with my Mom. At one time, we took JAZZ. Our main entertainment was to jockey into a position behind one of my Mom’s friends because her tights were WAY too small and the crotch was WAY too low and she could hardly move her legs in them. The teacher had us prancing around the room in long strides. It was awesome to watch Mom’s friend try to move in her tights. I can still replay that in my head anytime I need a mental-health break!

ROAD TO SAM’S: STEP #1 • WHY A DANCE SCHOOL?

ballroom-dancing

The Long, Long Winters

PATRICIA: To start, a confession: I have NO natural ability for dancing. None. Zero. I inherited my Dad’s rhythm. He had NONE. He used to take my Mom dancing before they were married. Afterwards, he said, “Thank god I don’t have to do that anymore!” Turns out, he always hated it, but it was part of his “courting” ritual.

BUT… I first got interested in dance about a zillion years ago, while living in a Northern Alberta town. (Fort McMurray, as it happens. I hope they come back from this horrible fire! There is even a street named after my Dad there. We lived there for 22 years, starting back when they had no TV, no radio, only a winter road out of town, no paved roads or sidewalks, and only the Edmonton Journal, which we received one day late. Yes, we had electricity, but the tap water was brown and smelled like rust and/or sulphur. We learned good coping skills.)

The winters were long and cold—not Vancouver cold—freeze-your-lungs-in-under-5-seconds cold. We had to breathe through scarves. We were always looking for things to do to help get us through the winters. DANCE was one of the things we found. Sometimes, class was canceled because nobody in town could start their cars, despite having them plugged in to prevent the batteries from freezing. At -60F with windchill (IT FELT LIKE -100!), nothing works!

When we could, we danced!  (Okay, maybe this is not a photo of me and my Mom, but we thought we looked like this!)