Thursday, April 01, 2010

Dancing, the Third Generation

As far back as I can remember I've loved to dance. When I was a kid, several of my girlfriends in the neighborhood took dance lessons at the nearby Continental Dance Studio in Dearborn. I used to go with them to watch their lessons, then I'd come home and beg my parents to let me take dance lessons. My mom used to complain that it was too expensive. My dad insisted women/girls who danced in "those scanty costumes" were no better than whores. It was a frustrating argument that went on for years.

Eventually, I wore them down ;-) but not until I was in high school. I think my mom gave in first and then she appealed to my dad on my behalf. I remember pleading with her that I needed to "find my thing". Other kids had hobbies and activities that they were good at. But I, I lamented, had none. I knew if I could just take dance lessons I'd be a better person, a happier person, and my soul would soar (or something to that effect). I know it sounds corny but it was true. I was a teenager searching for my identity and a form of self expression. The compromise was, I could take one and only one type of dance, I had to pay for half of each class session out of my allowance, and I had to walk the 3/4 of a mile to class and from class alone after dark with no whining about the cold, snow, rain, or wind. I didn't like the terms but I took the deal. I chose to learn "jazz line" and I loved it!

After a couple years of dance lessons, I became good enough to be in a competition group. We only competed locally and our group didn't make the cut off for nationals. That was just as well because my parents told me I wouldn't be going to nationals (the national competition was in New Orleans that year) even if my group did win districts. They weren't about to spend good money on out-of-state travel for something as silly as dancing. My dance lessons ended after that year (1972) because I got busy with other things... boys, Junior Achievement, boys, a part time job, and boys. That summer (1972) I did take Polish dance lessons at Alliance College but the only dancing I did during the remainder of my high school years was at school dances... and I attended every one of them I could!

When I was in college, I enjoyed going out to bars with my friends and dancing. But I didn't take any more dance classes until I was married with kids. At that point I got back into dance classes for the exercise value. First I took tap, then jazz aerobics, then Country line dancing, then Middle Eastern belly dancing. I loved them all. I managed to persuade my husband to take a couples dance class with me (No, I didn't take my grandmother's and mom's advice. I too married a man who doesn't dance.). He's a good sport and he gave it a good try, but he's never loved dancing like I do.

I wasn't the only one in our immediate family who had a passion for dancing either. My oldest brother started taking dance lessons at the local Arthur Murray studio to be able to dance at my wedding. But he didn't stop there. He continued to take lessons for several years (until he married a woman who doesn't dance... oh when will we ever learn!?!) and won several ballroom dance competitions. He has trophies over 3 feet tall!

Dancing was good for me. Dancing gave me poise and confidence and taught me that I could still remember my dance steps even when I had stage fright, LOL! I loved my dance classes even more than I liked performing at the recitals and competitions. I've never been comfortable being in the spotlight. But dancing just for the fun of it... ah yes, that I love.
I love to dance!
So it's no wonder I enrolled my daughter in dance classes when she was just in kindergarten...

Dancing, the Fourth Generation
Dancing, the First Two Generations