01.27.09

Tapping out Progress (3)

Posted in Tap dancing at 8:25 am by Marion

The economy’s gone belly up … my favorite month, January, will soon be over … and there’s no end in sight to the daily blear of obligations, threats and trials.

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Fear not! There is tap dancing!

Yes, if it’s Tuesday in Fiction Dailyland, there’s a good chance I’ll write a tap-dancing update.

After a two-week break for Dr. M.L. King Day, we returned last night. Our small class of two (myself and K., a former dance student and now elementary school teacher) gained another student . Like our teacher, this new student could be teaching the class, as she is a long-time dance student at our university. Who now plays Ultimate Frisbee. Who’s got a powerful shuffle-ball-change.

Now surrounded by dancers, whose feet move so rapidly you’d think they were breaking some kind of law. Of physics.

It was earlier this month, after the long holiday break, that I experienced a major breakthrough. Since starting tap lessons last summer, I’d always felt utterly inept, that I was incapable of tap dancing. Of course, now I understand that it’s a complicated, intricate skill, similar to learning a foreign language, that’s not picked up after an hour or two. Sure, you can flap and shuffle, but putting them together, changing feet, moving across the studio and extending the arms Broadway-style in a Maxie Ford

Steps that seemed impossible for me … too complicated, esoteric, inscrutable … suddenly became natural, familiar and part of my repertoire.

It’s a long time before I can dance like the others in my class, but how nice now to keep up during combinations, to buffalo across the studio floor … adding a flap and even a toe knock.

We have been having fun working our way through Ike and Tina Turner’s Rolling on a River … a few simple steps, but I manage to at least stay on the same foot as they do. Last night as our teacher ran through the pas-de-bourre steps, I noticed I wasn’t struggling … I was actually having fun.

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