Sunday, May 26, 2019

In dance class, I'm someone's Mississippi

I've set a new goal for myself: I want to dance. On stage. In a performance with lavish costumes and in a sold-out venue that can hold a couple of hundred people.

So where did this come from?  Well, three years ago Mike and I moved up to Sun City Anthem, a 55+ community on the extreme south side of the Las Vegas valley. This place is amazing; I wish we'd moved here on my 55th birthday. They offer a million activities and clubs, including several in the performing arts. A few weeks ago we attended a song and dance review put on by the Spotlight Club in a beautiful onsite theater. We saw their show last year as well, and both times I sat there watching the dancers--all fellow AARP members--thinking, "I want in."

And so at a club fair held in one of the ballrooms, I inquired about joining the Spotlight Club. The guy at the table was quick to advise me, ever so diplomatically, that the Spotlight Club was kind of an elite group with more professional level members than some of the other performing arts clubs. I understood; this community of 12,000 is full of performers at the pro level, including the woman who sang the "Meow, meow, meow, meow" cat food commercial. (Truth.) Yet he probably couldn't turn any interested parties away, so I paid my annual dues and became an official card carrying member.

I learned that dancer auditions for their May 2020 show will be held on June 17, and received an email with videos of the choreographer walking through the two audition routines. After viewing the videos probably a hundred times, and tripping over myself in my kitchen as I tried to follow along, I wanted to cry. I'm smart enough to know this is way beyond my capabilities.

You see, I'm not really a dancer; my "formal" dance training is limited to a few years of ballet in middle school and some sporadic classes over the next several decades. I do love to dance, though, and I'm sure I'd be voted Miss Show-Off by the gals in my Zumba class, but confidence does not equal ability. My dance style? Imagine a stripper with cerebral palsy or Elaine's dancing in Seinfeld.

So anyway, yesterday I went to a class put on by the choreographer to help everyone prepare for the audition next month. Even though I arrived promptly at noon, the session obviously was already well underway.  About ten dancers--in full makeup, black dance garb and character shoes--sat in the corner as the choreographer held court, and when I walked in everything stopped like "When Merrill Lynch speaks..."

Certain that I had stumbled into the wrong room, one of the women, who identified herself as the president of the group, rushed over to question me, this unshowered wretch in sloppy gym garb and gray Sketchers, only to determine that yep, I was, in fact, in the right place. I expected her to start fanning herself like I'd just said, "Could ya please pass the jelly?" (That will be my final reference to vintage commercials.)

"I thought this started at noon?" I whispered. She kind of glared at me and said, "We arrive early to stretch."


We went through the routines, and yes, I am in over my head. Nonetheless, the dancers, who clearly have been in many productions together and seem like quite an insulated group, actually did seem to warm up to me. (They should--I'm a lovely f*cking person!) One of the really good ones, who when I first walked in had her leg stretched over her head to the wall behind her, came over during a break and told me to stick with it, and not in a condescending way. Another woman was especially nice, but I'm quite sure that's only because she's no longer the Mississippi of the group.

I am WAY out of my comfort zone, but I am going to stick with it. I'll be joining a few of the dancers on Wednesday night to go over the routines again, and there's another prep class with the choreographer next Saturday, to which I shall arrive 20 minutes early.

My first goal is to just to get to--and through--the audition. As I've learned from the great Dr. Leo Marvin, everything starts with baby steps. It's just a little harder when you have two left feet.


Sharon Foster said...

I have missed you/this! Keep it up!

stacia said...

this is sooo awesome. i applaud your courage!!! go get em!

Laurie said...

I love your blog!Thanks so much for sharing your story! Way to go with your dancing challenge. Please keep us posted.

grrouchie said...

Oh Linda, while I'm slaving away on resumes I'll know you're off having a bloody good time cursing out old people under your breath without beer and that will make me smile

Debbie said...


Brandon Muller said...

Good luck! I love your can-do spirit. Perhaps, at the very least, the current meow-meow lady might sit this next audition out.

BenSharpson said...

While googling around I stumbled upon your blog again! It's been ten years since my last (and first, actually) comment here. (not counting off-blog messages).

Hope that if I write a comment here, that somehow you'd get a message that would sort of nudge you to post in earlier than the 2 1/2 years blogging rate you're hoping to fall into, Lol