Monday, June 24, 2013

Take it From the Top:
Dancing Together, Part Two

A great dance duo (and our prop keys)
A funny thing happened when I began taking Vi to her dance classes last October:

I started dancing. And I fell in love with it. And I haven't stopped. 

I was chatting one day with Vi's teacher, "Miss Anna," and I said I'd intended to tap dance after retiring and had bought shoes but hadn't taken lessons since I was about six years old.

Anna said, "My favorite class to teach is Beginning Adult Tap. Class starts January 8." I signed up that very day. It was only an eight-week class and I missed two of those weeks, but I learned a lot of steps including great warm-up and practice routines that I can do at home. When the class ended in March, Anna said I should be able to join the teens and adults class that runs from September through May. Part of me wondered how I could wait that long, and another part worried whether I'll be able to keep up with the rest of the class.

Then she made another life-changing comment. "We have an eight-week Parent-Child Class starting in two weeks." She explained that students and a family member prepare a dance for the recital in June--a light-hearted piece that doesn't require advanced skills.

I told Vi we had a once-in-a-lifetime chance to dance together, grandma and granddaughter. It would be more work than she was already doing for the recital, but we'd both remember it forever. She said okay. I didn't know at the time that we were signing on for four performances in two days! There were two recital groups, divided mostly by age, and each group performed twice.

Live shot from our first of four performances
Remember "Yakety-Yak," the 1958 Coasters hit? That's what we danced to. The kids played the bossy parent role, the grownups showed bad attitude and said "Yakety-Yak," and the kids said, "Don't talk back." Each pair pantomimed a pair of lines. As the music said, "Tell your hoodlum friends outside, You ain't got time to take a ride," Vi turned my wrong-way baseball cap to its proper position and confiscated the car keys. The whole number was fast-paced and fun, and the audiences loved it.

We rehearsed a lot, because timing was critical and a couple of the youngest kids had trouble getting from here to there with precision. Vi was bored with the repetition, but she did her part perfectly and even covered for me once when I was late with a move. She never got rattled or stressed, and she loved our final bit in which we squabbled over the keys and then hit our pose - bam! - for the big finish.

Eight kids, 4 moms, 2 dads, a brother, and a grandma
Somewhere during all of that, I began to feel like a dancer. It has stayed with me. I walk taller. I use my body differently, more deliberately. When I work in the garden I have more stamina. I will do my tap routine all summer to feed this lovely feeling. Then I will take tap class every Tuesday night starting in the fall, and not worry whether I can keep up with the best of them. I probably will also take ballet barre class on Monday nights, just for the feel of doing those moves. True confession: I learned how much I enjoy them while practicing with Vi. And on the day Anna turned up with her leg in a cast, unable to lead Vi's class in their recital dances, I stood in for her because I had learned the dances by heart. 

I've spent a lifetime knowing that I should be more active, and mostly hating any exercise I got involved with. Suddenly I'm moving again, thanks to dance. It strikes me that I should have figured this out years ago, but I didn't. Like so many things in life, I've learned it because of my grandchildren. In this case, my dance partner, Vi.

This post has been linked to the GRAND Social blogging event at Grandmas Briefs.

21 comments:

Stephen Hayes said...

The things we learn from our kids and grand kids. Your joy of accomplishment rings out loudly in this post. Congratulations to you and your granddaughter.

Jeanie said...

What a really, really cool thing for you and Vi to do. The picture is priceless, and so are all the positive things you are doing for yourself with all the fun you are having.

Red Shoes said...

What a GREAT story!!!!

You GO, Girl!!!

~shoes~

Meryl Baer said...

My Dallas, Texas aunt tap danced into her late 80s. I am thinking of starting,,,Enjoy and keep on dancing!

Indigo Roth said...

Hey Nancy! What a fantastic story, both opportunity and fulfillment! Wonderful stuff, and a lovely connection between you and Vi. Indigo x

Pauline Persing said...

Learning new things is one of the things that I love about having grandchildren. Also love to hear their thoughts on the world around them.

DJan said...

OH, this is just wonderful! I love the story, the pictures, and the temptation to dance. Hmmm. Wonder if they have tap classes around here? :-)

Jenny Short said...

I think this is so great! What an experience for both to you and something Vi will remember forever. xo Jenny

Far Side of Fifty said...

Perfect! It is so rewarding when we rediscover something we love! What a team! :)

Linda Myers said...

I felt the same way when I learned how to line dance last winter in Tucson. At home now, it's harder to get there every week, but we make it most of the time. I'm always glad. I've got increased stamina, and it was a relief to know that the sense of rhythm I used to have is still with me.

Ms Sparrow said...

Just a wonderful post! I loved hearing about how Vi has inspired you into dancing. What a wonderful way to recover after being "laid up" over the winter. The photos of you and Vi are darling. More power to both of you!

AiringMyDirtyLaundry said...

This is just awesome!!

Nanette Stearns said...

It's never too late to dance! In fact, I danced to "Whistle the Wind" by Flogging Molly with my cat, Hildy, last night. She wasn't thrilled but put up with it. Since I've started taking Barre classes, my posture is better and I'm more conscious of how I stand and sit. Have a wonderful time dancing into the future!

Jenny said...

This is awesome! Totally awesome!

You tap girl!!!!!!

Jeanie said...

there is SO much to love in this post. SO much. First, the photos -- each a charm (especially that middle one!).

Then the love of you two dancing together and making that unforgettable experience for this adorable little girl.

But mostly what I love is that you DID it. You didn't sigh and regret -- you got out there, maybe even a little out of your comfort zone and did it! And you didn't do it just because of Vi, you did it for YOU.

And look at you -- smiling, aware, and tap, tap, taping away! Bring on the Busby Berkeley movies next! Singin' in the Rain! I see a movie marathon coming on in your house!

Grandmother said...

This is such a great story- you sound so happy and you both look so good in your routine. What a fabulous idea to take dance together and the results speak for themselves!

Kc W said...

This is my first visit and I love your blog and your relationship with your grands! You and Vi seem to have as much fun together as Amara and I do! She is 9 now -- it will just keep getting better!

Debra @ Homespun said...

What a fun post and I started laughing in the beginning because suddenly I was transported back to my childhood, watching old movies at my grandparents house, and wishing that I could tap dance! I used to pretend that I was doing it all of the time!

GOOD FOR YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:) :) Sounds like you are having an absolute blast :) )

Gail @ http://biblelovenotes.com said...

I think that's wonderful...how fun is that to dance with your granddaughter...and I've always had a secret desire to tap dance too : )

Sarah~Magnolia Surprise said...

What a fun post! I can just see y'all dancing now! Not only is it good exercise, but it's also a wonderful way to make memories with your granddaughter!

Cindi Thornton said...

I came over from the Grand Social Blogging event at Grandma's Briefs...and I absolutely LOVE this post! My grandkids would LOVE if I did something like this...but, honestly, I do not think I have the energy!

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