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.)
I 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.)
[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.