Thursday, August 9, 2012

Shall We Dance?

Thank you,

When we heard that Dad and his Lovely Wife were planning a dance following their wedding dinner, Husband and I looked at each other and laughed. This is not our first ride on the wedding dance carousel.

My brother J and his wife were married just a few months after Husband and I tied the knot in 1983. I was recently returned from the Peace Corps where I had been completely immersed in a dancing society. I had discovered that while Kansans are urging their babies to "Say mama! Talk to me, bay-bee!" Costa Ricans are propping their barely hatched children up on non-functioning knees and commanding them to "Baile! Baile!" As a result, Kansans talk and Ticos dance. My new husband had heard me rhapsodize about how much fun the dances were, and how much I loved to dance, but he was a Kansan.

But Husband also is a problem solver so in 1984, when my soon-to-be-married brother told us plans for their big day included a wedding dance, my mate set about solving his non-dancing problem. He signed us up for dance lessons.

I know! Isn't that the sweetest thing you've ever heard? Six weeks, every Tuesday night, through the Free University in the city where we were living.

Our teacher was a suave, toupee-d 70-year-old who was smoooooth with a capital ooooo. He fox-trotted. He two-stepped. He tango-ed and he rumba-ed. He even polka-ed. His partner, a tiny blond in high heels, was bored and wrinkled as she waited for her moment on the floor but when the music came up her toes were twinkling.

Oh, my, could they dance. And when we watched them, so could we--in our imaginations. As we mentally waltzed (ONE-two-three, ONE-two-three) we were sure we were the new Fred and Ginger of the Midwest. Unfortunately, we then had to get out on the dance floor and we were more like this:

It wasn't that we didn't try. We watched attentively. We counted earnestly. We flexed our knees, and relaxed our shoulders, and swayed to the music, then we...

Thank you, Awkward Dancing Tumblr, for this image.
Yeah. Not pretty.

Saturday night, 28 years later, the dance floor beckoned. Would we have magically developed some smooth moves? Is grace related to wrinkles and (in my case) cellulite?

I believe I can say now with authority that the answer to both of those questions is a resounding "no." What does change is the embarrassment factor. Instead of slinking off the floor to drink weak lemonade out of paper cups and commiserate with the nice young rabbi and his wife who also were taking dance lessons in 1984, we strode past the table where our four grown-up Boys were staring at their parents in horror.

We are still embarrassingly bad dancers, but we've passed the embarrassment along to our children.

Tango? Anyone?

1 comment:

  1. I laughed and laughed after reading about your dancing experiences and your dancing clips. I'm definitely not a dancer. Envision me with my arms pumping up & down and shuffling my feet around - that's me! I thought you would enjoy seeing this video of dancing: I'm so glad my Mom told me about your blog. Can't wait to read the other posts. Love, your cousin.