Three years ago, when I told husband Peter I was going to take a line dancing class, he envisioned the Radio City Rockettes and he laughed. Then he did his version of a high step-kick across the kitchen.
And I howled.
No, we are not the precision long-legged beauties you see in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. But we do dance in a line, without partners, and we follow a choreographed pattern of steps … at least that’s the idea.
Our class of “seniors” has a heck of a good time. We press on, never mind that we don’t remember the steps that go with the music from one week to the next. I look forward to Thursday afternoons.
Cass, our instructor, flits across the floor the way a reflection bounces off water. She must have wondered if she’d ever get through to us.
“Mama Maria” was our first dance. We caught on so slowly. As simple and boring as it seems now, it took us weeks to master. We now know the names of steps — grapevine, rocker step, jazz box, kick ball change, Charleston, cha cha, hitch —but putting them to the music without Cass’ repeat instructions? Never happens.
The “old faithfuls” from the original bunch, Lois, Joanne, Barb, Judy R and me, have been joined by “new faithfuls,” Gini, Pat and Gay.
Lois the stalwart never forgets the steps once she’s learned them, though she refuses to count much to Cass’ dismay. “I can’t count and dance,” Lois grumbles. “Which do you want me to do?” Joanne insists she’ll never learn whatever new dance Cass trots out, but she counts determinedly, concentrates so hard her red hair sizzles, and learns the routine quickly. Barb has a loosey-goosey interpretation of the steps that works for her. Judy R is so polished and perfect when she slips into the room during her lunch hour that she looks the part, so it doesn’t matter if she misses a kick-stomp here, a cha-cha there.
Me, Judy C.? I sweat. You know the saying, “Southern girls glisten, Yankee girls sweat”? I’m a Yankee.
Early on I caught on to the new dances more quickly than now. “I was better but I got over it,” as my dad liked to say. I had to sit out most of last year because of my crumbling knee, see Good to go wherever. For months, all I could do was try to learn while sitting on a chair and moving my feet to “mark” the choreography: chair dancing. That helped some but chair dancing is probably akin to learning how to pole dance without a pole. Not that I’ve ever tried it, nor would I!
Now that I’m able to dance again, my balance has gone kaflooey. Some of the twists and turns make me feel as if I’m on a Carousel riding a horse that’s made a dash for greener pastures.
Line dancing is usually done to country music, true. But our Cass has eclectic tastes that veer to breakdancing songs, Lady GaGa, gentle waltzes and even Christmas carols. I’m not a fan of the singer who wore a costume made of raw meat, but once I got the steps to “I like it rough,” I changed my tune.
Darius Rucker’s “Wagon Wheel” is our current challenge. Most of the group have it nailed, but the full turns make me feel like I’m in a centrifuge. I may have to sit that one out at the Christmas performance.
Alan Jackson’s “Good Time” is my favorite. Love the beat and that it’s used in this GE commercial. As a former GE employee, it’s great to see that the giant, rather stodgy company I once knew introduced such a catchy commercial for … ecoimagination? That term hadn’t even been coined when I retired 25 years ago. Imagine that!