Invitation To the Waltz

I have no idea what I was thinking when I came up with this week’s topic: ”At A Dance”, but here we are. More personal information than usual may be here, but, this is what’s on my mind,(although I doubt it is what I had planned.)

loved watching Fred Astaire movies all the time I was growing up. In fact, I found it hard to walk normally after watching him and Ginger Rogers, or whomever his partner was in whatever movie I had just seen…and when we lived in a house with stairs, well, I had to go up two or three sideways, then back down two, then up two, down one, etc. Good thing I made sure no one was watching!
(You should have seen me trying to walk normally after any viewing of “White Christmas”. There was no way my legs weren’t going as far out as possible after Vera Ellen’s “Mandy” performance!)

But most of all, I wanted to waltz.

My nieces were born when I was in my early teens and even when they were tiny, they loved music, especially “The Waltz of the Flowers” from “The Nutcracker” and “The Sleeping Beauty Waltz”, both by Tchaikovsky. I’d do my best try at Ginger Rogers’ backwards grace when no one was looking. I am sure I failed miserably, but not in my mind. I could not wait for the opportunity to dazzle whatever manly but light-footed partner awaited in my, (hopefully near), future.

I never got to dances in my youth. I never regretted the decisions to put other people’s needs before mine and I’d do it again. I nearly attended a college prom with the man who was to be my husband, but he went alone. It was another difficult decision and under the circumstances probably the right one. We didn’t marry until three and a half years later.

I considered taking dance lessons, and that is one regret that I have, that I did not. When we were married, my husband was teaching high/junior high classes in a private academy and we chaperoned a number of dances and it was there that I found that my dear husband was a terrible dancer…really bad.

One of his sweetest students asked my permission to ask him to dance and I stupidly said yes. He had little experience social dancing and none outside of a dating/school dance situation. He hung over the girl and it was uncomfortable for her and the rest of us, although his intentions were honorable; he simply didn’t know any better. I took him for the next song and instructed him right on the dance floor…and I had to lead.

We danced a few other times at proms, etc., but Fred and Ginger we were not. I considered having us both take dance lessons, but, well, it never happened. They even had a square dance once, and I had no problem with that, as we folk danced in our school a lot when I was young, but my husband is rhythmically challenged; he just can’t let himself go loose in public. You should have seen me just trying to get him to do “The Stroll” at a ‘50’s Dance.(Maybe not.)

Tonette and Husband at a '50's  dance

Tonette and Husband at a ’50’s dance

[circa 1987: I have my husband’s high school ring on a chain around my neck and that is actually his ‘Letter Sweater’.]

Around that time we became acquainted with a lovely, elderly woman. Her eyesight failed, her health failed and she went into a nursing home. On one of our last visits, she was being brave. The doctor had broken it to her that she would never walk again. She said, ”My first thought was, ’I’ll never waltz again’, then I said to myself, ‘Florence, no one has taking you waltzing in fifty years; get over it’.”

I am at least twenty-five years younger than Florence was when she told me that story over twenty years ago. Not long ago I bemoaned the fact that no, I had never been waltzing. Too much time has passed, my knees and feet are bad; it will never happen. I cast my glace upward and said, ”Florence, you at least you had it when you did.” I know that is a strange regret.

But next week I will be going to a wedding where there may be music. We didn’t dance at the last few “dancing weddings” we attended, but I may drag the husband out onto the dance floor. We will not be attempting a waltz, though, trust me.

How about you?         Anyone waltz out there?
Do you feel that you want to dance when you watch others dancing?


Post Script: I did not expect to end up dancing at the wedding reception, as they had a fold group play and the younger folk stayed warm,(the weather was unexpectedly cold), by doing the Virginia Reel, etc., as we caught up with the cousins and met the in-laws. [The bride chose this group to keep the guests occupied.She wanted no chance of ANYONE requesting the Chicken Dance or the Macarena.] However, near the end they  called all the married couples to the stage.I dragged my husband to  it and they played The Anniversary Waltz! They eliminated the couples married the shorter times as we danced,(or did a reasonable facsimile thereof). We were among the last, but the bride’s parents took the flowers for being the longest-married couple there.
So, although  Joe paid no attention to the quick instructions given by the head musician, we made movements on the dance floor enough that I guess I can no longer say that I have never been waltzing.


About Tonette Joyce

Tonette was a once-fledgling lyricists-bookkeeper, turned cook/baker/restaurateur and is now exploring different writing venues,(with a stage play recently completed). She has had poetry and nonfiction articles published in the last few years. Tonette has been married to her only serious boyfriend for more than thirty years and she is, as one person described her, family-oriented almost to a fault. Never mind how others have described her, she is,(shall we say), a sometime traditionalist of eclectic tastes.She has another blog : "Tonette Joyce:Food,Friends,Family" here at WordPress.She and guests share tips and recipes for easy entertaining and helps people to be ready for almost anything.
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16 Responses to Invitation To the Waltz

  1. Your posts reminds me of a line out of a Steve Moakler song I’ve heard recently – “I don’t have to move my feet/to dance with you/You don’t have to look to see/that my love is true.”
    Love the dancing 🙂


  2. I’ve always wanted to take a dance class… I think I really might, and soon!


  3. Kate, go for it! Seriously,I have never met a person who took lessons and regretted it.I knew a female dance instructor who said she got a lot of shy men, short men a sometimes unattractive men who wanted to have something with which to dazzle women…and it worked! I recently mentioned to Jeff about seeing Curly,(of the Three Stooges), dancing with a woman on one of the shows.He was light on his feet and a wonderful dancer, I would never have sought the man out for any other reason, but I would have dragged him onto the dance floor!
    One word of caution:dance instructors are notorious for flattering their students.The best ones do it to instill confidence…and bad ones do it with ulterior motives. Just a word to the wise.


  4. jeff7salter says:

    I was taught a very basic waltz step when I was one of two delegates from Thespians Club to the H.S. Carnival ball. After the presentations of the delegates (I was the Gingham Dog), we were supposed to waltz with our mothers or fathers. I had a date there, but I guess she was just watching at that point. Anyway my mom got tickled waltzing with a Gingham Dog in costume and full makeup. We got thru that dance and Mom went home. I got my makeup off and changed clothes and rejoined my date.


    • Well, now I know who I can grab should the opportunity present itself! I can’t imagine either of my sons ever dancing with me.


      • jeff7salter says:

        I remember we practiced a little bit at home so we’d get the sense of each other’s movement. My one and only time to dance with my mom was a formal waltz in front of hundreds of other people.


  5. Iris B says:

    You’ve gotta let us know you went with the wedding dance 😉

    Loooved Fred Astaire as well, still love the movies 🙂 And I have no idea how I ended up with a husband who’s not big on dancing either, but he manages a good waltz step at important occasions.
    As long as I can remember I loved dancing and I have memories of dancing – whether it was during carnival, or at nightclubs, disco, or at home … dancing has always been important.
    Went we went to Canada I was taught the two step. It was hilarious, cos I wasn’t allowed to wiggle my hips and couldn’t help but do it … what a night!

    (Thinking about it now, I should’ve talked about that night on Monday 😦 )


    • Better late than never,Iris…you gave me my chuckle for the day!
      Not to dwell on aches and pains, but it will be a tough week getting the house ready to leave it, getting the grandson ready for Scout camp and then at least an 11 hour drive to the wedding.We’ll see if these feet and knees can WALK, let alone dance!


  6. pjharjo says:

    Oh, Yeah, Tonette! I want to dance when I see others dancing. HECK; I want to dance when I DON’T see others dancing! LOL! I learned some Ballroom dancing, once. Not sure I remember any of it, now, but once I went on a date I will always remember. sigh My date was one of those gentlemen who’s mother required all her sons learn to dance. I wasn’t sure I remembered enough, then, but he led me around the dance floor so strongly I couldn’t help but follow like I knew what I was doing! It was so much fun! Enjoyed your blog. 🙂 I wonder why all mothers don’t do that with their sons?? Gone are the days…


  7. I had every intention of seeing that my sons had dance lessons, but then I moved into exile and it was gone with the wind,(as well as their fencing lessons). At least I had my grandson take tap dancing lessons when he wanted to!


  8. See the amendment above!


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