Alvin Ailey Dancer, stoneware sculpture by kayti sweetland rasmussen
Dancing has always been a part of my life, from childhood when a fond grandma hoped my tap shoes would lead to fame and family fortune. It’s obvious that never happened, but I kept dancing anyway.
I heard of a Modern Dance class starting in the City when my children were small and I needed exercise. Any new mother can interpret that to mean, “Shape up!” The instructor floated into the room and I felt myself sinking into my body and thinking there was no hope for me. A gorgeous African-American, she was about 5’10” with extremely short hair and a body to make an artist dream of painting her. I knew immediately that if I were to come back some day as African-American, I would look like her plus with large earrings. She put us through all sorts of strenuous stretches and odd positions until my bones felt they could never have been meant to go there. But I kept dancing anyway.
Last week we went to a friend’s 90th birthday party. About twenty years ago we joined a dance group in town which performed at schools, old age homes and any place anyone would have us. Once while practicing, we asked my Dad for his opinion, his answer “Don’t call us, we’ll call you.” In our initial public performance, our husbands embarrassed us by clapping and cheering loudly in the audience. But we kept dancing anyway.
We are second and third from the right in the chorus line. I don’t know if the others are still dancing.
I was impressed by her ability to “get things done” while her husband was on a business trip. They had discussed and he had disregarded the case for new carpeting, but once when he returned after a week away, he had to agree that the new carpet looked much better than the old.
I met this lady about 55 years ago when I interrupted her gardening by inquiring if she were the mother of a little girl with the same name as one of mine. We then discovered that our husbands had gone all through school together. In was enough to ensure a long friendship. And we’re still dancing in our own way.