Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I remember when...

Mamakat's Writer Workshop
Here are the prompts...
1.) The last time I laughed really hard...
2.) Forgive and forget...I think.
3.) I remember when...
4.) Write about something that bothered you this week.
5.) Write a poem about a favorite color.
I choose... ummmm.....#3 and maybe another one if I come up with something on the fly.
Here goes...
I remember when...
I used to dance. No, not dance just because... but really and truly dance.
Tap, Jazz, Modern. From the time I was 4 years old until I was 20, I took dance classes 4 times a week. It was like a job, only I adored it, and did it because I wanted to.. not because I had to.
I remember my very first dance routine was a tap number to "Singin' in the rain". I wore black tap shoes with a black bow to tie them, teeny fishnet stockings, a black leotard, and a bright red and white polka dotted "raincoat" made out of Lame'. and an umbrella to match.
My Mama put loads of makeup on me, so I didn't look like a ghost on stage when the lights hit me. I looked like a baby hooker... and I LOVED it! My Papa? He didn't like it so much, the makeup part... but he muddled through.
Because we were 4 years old, we got to go on stage in the beginning of the show because we got tired quickly, and no one wants to wake a child up to go on stage. It doesn't make for a good dancing experience, for the kid or the audience. We had to wait for 3 hours for our next curtain call for the Finale, so in the meantime, we played games, smudged our makeup and slept.
I remember being nervous just before performing, and right after I exited the stage... I told my Mama that was the MOST fun, and could I go do it again... please.. pretty please? They were clapping for me, (okay... us), and I really needed more of that for the rest of my life. I was sure of it at the tender age of 4.
Still tapping, I begged my mother to let me take additional classes, and she obliged. Soon I was going from once a week, to 4 times a week, taking tap on Monday's, Jazz on Tuesday's, Ballet (blegh!) on Wed. and a private class on Thurs. I realized very soon in my life, that being a soloist was the way to hog ALL the applause for oneself.
I HAD to take ballet... because it really is the basis for all things dance,
and it is the best thing for technique. I just hated every second of it... but if I had to.. I did it.
I was going to Broadway one of these days... and I had to pay my dues. Ha!
I danced through Junior High, and High School all the way to 20. One year, all my high school teachers came to see me dance. During one number, I was in a trio then, my tap shoe kicked off my foot and hit my English teacher square in the head.
I didn't flinch... she was upset I didn't stop dancing and see if she was okay, and told me so the next day... I explained to her that I had been trained to 'just keep matter what. I (okay... WE) got a standing ovation that night. She used it as a teasing ploy for the rest of the year.
She is the reason I write.
Another time, my tube top lost the invisible strap on stage, and I dance topless for a few seconds. Good times.
THANK GOD my Papa wasn't there for that one!
ALL my friends were invited to our huge dance productions in Riverside.
When they would ask me why I never went to parties or hung out with them after school, I told them they would see why in January during the show. After the show... they got it.
Some of them joined up too!
I was a cheerleader too, and in the Drillteam, and having my dance background made it virtually impossible to fail the tryouts. I remember one of my tryouts... I walked in with 3 other girls to tryout... and one of the judges knew what I did, and had come to a couple of my shows, and dismissed me with a 'buy' on the team.
The other girls did NOT like it, but when I began choreographing routines in seconds flat... they shut right up.
Being that busy kept me out of tons of trouble. I never had time for trouble. I had my goals, and classes, and games, and productions to do... parties were NOT my scene.
When I was 15, I tried out for Star Search.
I didn't make it, but tried again, and made it.
One thing many don't know about Star Search... is that there are a lot of steps to making it on the big stage on TV. I made to juuuuust right there, when a ballet dancing dork did one brilliant set of tour jete's and beat us out.
I still got to meet Ed Mcmahon, but it was a bitter pill for me to swallow.(hence the dork statement... apparently I'm not 'over' it yet.)
Maybe I am just a bit competitive.. with myself... not my kids. I don't live vicariously through them. I had quite a wonderful, exciting life before them... it's their turn now.
The only reason I stopped dancing was because I was working full time during the day, and attending college full time every night of the week at age 20, and I just couldn't fit it in.
I did take dance for my P.E. classes in college, and they were lame, but it was a required class.. P.E., and tennis didn't do it for me.
In 17 years of dance I met countless celebrities, traveled all over the country, did 2 commercials,
met the MOST exemplary people ever,
felt the thrill of being on stage in front of thousands of people,
won countless talent competitions,
felt the rush of an encore,
learned how to be a team player,
learned how to stop toes from bleeding,
learned the show really must go on... no matter what, and
how much my Mama sacrificed for me just to get me to class on time before I could drive,
and how expensive it was.
Recently, she added it all up, and said she could have purchased two homes cash with the money she spent on me for costumes, shoes, sequins, pictures, dance bags, and on and on and on.
I have since stopped complaining about paying my kids private school tuition, even though I could probably buy 5 homes cash... it's all worth it to me.
Thanks so much for reading this far...
I'm going to shuffle myself off now...
Shuffle step,shuffle, ball change, ball change, ball change...
Hop shuffle step, shuffle step, ball change,
heel dig, turn, turn, turn...
annnddd.... bow.....
The end...
you can clap now.
I'm done.
Go ahead... I won't stop you...
I caaaannn''ttt hheeeaaarr yyyooouuuu!


  1. *clapping vigorously*

    You ARE awesome! What a great remembory. I am inspired by you. :-)

  2. I love the shoe part!! OMG that was funny!

    And I was a dancer too. It made things so much easier, didn't it? I joined a country western dance team as an adult and learned a 20 minute routine in only a few days!

    Great post! Thanks for sharing!

  3. I love how you ended it all by dancing "offstage." So clever! Great post! ;)

  4. Great memory!! My 4 year year old is taking ballet now and loves it.

  5. Awwwwwww! I took dance throughout my younger years too! I did tap, jazz, modern, ballet and toe (for us they were two different classes - ballet and toe). I did that all the way up until I was in 9th grade. Then I had to stop because I had some pretty bad knee problems! :( I started up again when I was around 27ish - just tap. My cousin taught it was mostly family in the class - it was fun! But quit after I moved out of town. :(

    I too miss it - and as funny as it sounds...I can see your little "routine" at the end of your post!

    I just loved this post!

  6. Oh I wish that I could dance but I can't even walk with out spraining my ankle. I can't imagine what I would do while dancing.

  7. My 8 year old is a dancer and I'll be having her read your post tonight!!! She'll be performing next Wednesday night so if you get a chance you should swing by my blog on Thursday or Friday for pics! Maybe a little walk down memory lane. Oh and I posted videos of her & my niece dancing (performing) in late September you should check those out too. Thanks for paying me a visit today.

  8. Do you do any dancing now, of any sort?

  9. Mama Wheaton...

    I will dance around touchy subjects, trip the light fantastic by tripping over light cords... and secretly... when I am home alone and my music is on... I will shase' all over the place.

  10. Well, another thing in common. My love was ballet. I was told at 7 to forget tap and focus on ballet. I was just too much of a clutz to be on slippery taps.

    Too fun. Learned lots of discipline.

  11. This is the mosrt interesting and inspiring post! I loved reading about your life and how fun and exciting it sounded. You have a lot to be proud of... your dedication, your mom, your children... YAY
    I am so glad I found your blog.

  12. Oh wow!! BUMMER you didn't get on star search...just think what a great video that would have been on your blog. ;) Love this.


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