Monday, January 21, 2008

Off We Go into the Wild Blue Yonder

Never did I imagine myself dancing in a chorus line at age 59. But yesterday we linked arms and made lots of noise as our taps hit the floor while we grape-vined across the room.

I finally joined the adult tap class on its 3rd session of 10. I was greeted by Roberta, the instructor who is probably 10 years older than I am but definitely in much better shape. She had brought her husband Bob along to give special attention to anyone who needed it. She handed me a little slip of paper with their names and phone number on it and told me they actually make house calls for people who need remedial help – at no extra cost! You see Roberta and Bob met in their tap shoes and love to dance. She was wearing a tee shirt that said something like, “You’re never too old to tap dance. You’re only old when you stop dancing.”

As we put on our shoes, my friend Cindy handed me a screw driver and told me to loosen each screw on the taps a quarter turn. That way they make more noise when you tap. I was more concerned about tripping over my taps, but I did as she said.

The next hour was about as good a cardio session as I could have ever asked for. We warmed up our ankles and our toes and the balls of our feet. We lifted and shifted our rib cage. Then we started seriously tapping.

I was OK with the simple one-part instructions. I could brush and step and even do shuffle circles. I managed to do a solo grape-vine across the room, the last of the 8 students to try it.

But the real challenge for me came when we started doing “Buffalo” and “Time Step.” These require processing multiple movements and weight shifts. I could mentally understand what Roberta said, but my feet were not so cooperative. They were the foot equivalent of tongue-tied.

That was the point at which I first heard that we are going to be in a recital at the end of the 10 weeks. Are you kidding me? I can barely tap 2 successive steps correctly. But yes, we are dancing to “Off We Go into the Wild Blue Yonder.” This was when we did the chorus line thing (tallest to shortest) and attempted to learn the first 90 seconds of our number. I must say it was nice to be able to hold onto the arms on either side for balance, but I really suck at remembering what to do. If you are expecting to be invited to the recital, forget it!

Roberta had thought ahead. She sent each of us home with a hand-written description of the warm-up and the two most challenging sequences. That’s all I need – something else to practice at home. I am really toying with the idea of inviting Roberta and Bob to come over for a little private lesson so I don’t totally embarrass myself in this tap adventure.

As bad as I am, I must admit how much I love to hear those taps clicking on a hard-wood floor. It’s a happy sound!


Blogger Pauline said...

awwww...come on - how about a little YouTube video?

isn't it fun to do such things for yourself?

5:06 PM  
Blogger Reya Mellicker said...

Sounds like a blast!!

6:20 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Pauline -- Let's see how the next few lessons go before we even consider YouTube possibilities!

It's most fun to be able to look in the mirrors on the wall of the dance "studio" and laugh at what I see of myself instead of making judgments.

Reya -- It is a blast and Cindy is so encouraging! You would love the teachers. They are so in love with each other and with tap dancing.

8:33 PM  
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

I wish I could link arms with you and join in that class! I've always loved tap and I think I told you I saw Riverdance twice! (I knew every step and bar of music!)
have fun! (And don't forget to bake some cookies for when they come over for private lessons!)

11:21 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...

It does sound like fun. I haven't tapped in years!

4:57 PM  
Blogger GEWELS said...

Oh! I am so finding out where that recital is- you can be sure!

BTW- Have I told you you're awesome lately?

7:43 PM  

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