Wednesday, July 29, 2009

So You Think You Can Dance

After being a dancer from age 3 until age 19 I feel like dancing is in my blood. Even though I haven't formally danced in 15 years (darn kids) I still love to put on some music and dance around the living room, kitchen, shower, wherever I can move my feet.

I have a love/hate relationship with Fox's show So You Think You Can Dance. I love to watch it and see the amazing, talented dancers show off the amazing, talents of the choreographers. I hate it because it makes me miss dancing so much. I have tears in my eyes during every show.

I didn't exactly suck at dancing but I wasn't the best in my classes either. I quit taking formal dance lessons when I was 15 but took an elective dance class all 3 years of high school. When I was little I took dance lessons taught in Mrs. Brigg's garage, I was near the top in terms of ability. Even though we practiced in her garage, we still learned a lot and had a recital at the local college every year. We wore the lovely fringe and sequenced dance costumes and tapped, balleted, and jazzed around to the best of our ability. I remember taking lessons at Erica's for two years on top of Mrs. Brigg's classes. This is when I learned I was passionate about dance but not enough to have someone yell at me for not doing a step perfectly. After the recital I promptly quit Erica's and stuck with the loving, grandmotherly Mrs. Brigg's.

High school dance classes were a hoot. For some reason in my sophomore year there were several seasoned dancers that laughed when we were told we would have to take Dance I. We wriggled our way into Dance III which meant the school had to make up classes for our junior and senior years (Dance Choreography I & II). Our teacher, Mr. S, was obviously on the feminine side and would fit right in with Mia and her contemporary ways. I'll never forget the one legged dance we had to make up- yes we were graded on it. At least Mr. S let us choose our own theme for the winter and spring dance concerts. I remember doing A Chorus Line, The Little Match Girl (my idea thank you very much- didn't get to be the Little Match Girl, though), and The Little Mermaid (I kid you not, our Algebra teacher looked exactly like Ursula the Sea Witch). Ugh, a horrible memory just floated back of wearing MC Hammer pants and dancing to a rap Christmas song. Oh, and wearing gray sweats meant to look make us look like mice for a shortened version of The Nutcracker.

I quickly learned how great of a dancer I was not that first semester. Some of the girls I danced with? Um, those were the ones who took from Erica's and actually stayed. Oh, to think of the dancer I could have been. Oh, well. They were patient with me, encouraged me, and were kind enough to not laugh when I attempted leaps. I'm even still friends with some of them. One now owns her own dance studio where she attempted to teach my two oldest daughters to dance. Apparently they got their mom's lack of intense drive.

One of my favorite memories of dancing was one of the last times I performed on a stage. I attended a youth conference in North Carolina just after graduating high school. On the last night there was a talent show. Feeling confident after being guided by some very patient girls for 3 years as well as the love shown to me by Mrs. Brigg's I decided to do a solo for the show. It was a very emotional dance. My only grandma had passed away two months earlier after a long struggle with Alzheimer's. The dance was for her, in her memory. I chose Mariah Carey's I'll be There and danced harder than I ever had in my life. I remember breaking down the minute I left the stage. Wow, I just realized that was the only time my grandma was able to watch me dance since she lived in Indiana. I don't know why I never thought about that before.

It looks like it's time to pass the torch to my youngest daughter, Maisie. She's only 3 but tells us several times a day that she wants to go to 'ballerina school'. She watches So You Think You Can Dance and does a pretty darn good job at copying the dancers. Grandma will get to watch her, too.

Darn you, John! I was going to write a short, quick post so I could mention a contest in hopes of winning So You Think You Can Dance Get Fit DVD's. One of the requirements was to mention the contest in a blog, on Face Book, or My Space. I never intended to take trips down memory lane and end up short circuiting my keyboard from tears. I tweeted the contest, joined the email list, and just needed to mention the contest here and leave a comment. Forty minutes later I've poured more of me onto the computer and wound up with a stuffy red nose. I better win those DVD's dammit! If not I better start making some money blogging so I can buy them on ebay. I need to make money anyway so I can take my oldest daughter to SYTYCD in Tampa soon. This better count!

One last thing. Dance not only gave me an outlet for my emotions, much like writing has, but I also got one of my very best friend's through dance. Along with taking dance as a class I was also on the dance and drill team. This is where I met Kris. I wasn't sure I'd like her at first but we quickly became good friends. By the time we were seniors we were inseparable. Twenty years later she's one of three friends I've kept in contact with ever since graduation (one other I met on the dance team, too. Love you, Shana!). We talk, email, and text every day. Many times I wonder what I'd do without her. I'm grateful to have met her through dance and feel blessed to have had her in my life for the last 20 years (dang, we're getting old!).

I'm off to watch tonight's episode of SYTYCD!


  1. Kaytii,
    Thanks for the story. I'm very glad that you were able to go back and experience these memories. I didn't expect my DVD giveaway to prompt such an emotional response, but I don't apologize for it in any way. My mother always taught me to show my emotions even if it wasn't comfortable.

    Thanks for sharing. It's beautiful to read and think about. I'm sure that this story will come to mind as my daughter (currently 2.5) grows up. I hope you win the DVDs as well. Thanks for the link to my site;-)

  2. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


  3. Thank you very much, Susan! May I ask how you came across my blog? I'm curious as to how people find my little ship. :)