We all receive a lot of useless, time wasting email enticements, but occasionally something piques my interest and I go for it. A couple weeks ago, it was the draw of finding out what was the #1 song on the charts the day I were born. Ok, I’ll bite. So I plunked in my birthday (1/28/1948 in case you’re interested) and the result was “Dance, Ballerina, Dance” by Vaughn Monroe. Mildly interesting, meh,whatever. Or so I thought.
Then the other night I woke at (my usual) 3 a.m. with the lyrics on a continuous loop through my head and it hit me; the thread of dance throughout my life, beginning with Day One. According to my dear, departed mother, who dubbed me The Ballet Dancer, I continually slept from infancy with one leg extended and the other bent, toe touching the opposite knee in pirouette position. Still sleep the same way!
Sure I would be a tiny dancer, she enrolled me in ballet and tap dance lessons for which, sadly, I had no aptitude whatsoever. Although I dreamed of tutus, they were not in my future. Piano was my forte and I learned “Swan Lake” so I could accompany my more nimble cousin, Shelley so got the dance gene. Never mind, I was in love with dance. Mom shlepped me from Sioux City to Omaha to see my first live ballet and I was hooked.
From there it was on to the movies, where dance was a staple. My older sister (grudgingly) took me to the movies every Saturday afternoon where we thrilled to all the movie musicals of the day. The incomparable elegance of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, the ebullient athleticism of Gene Kelly in “Singing in the Rain” (my all time favorite), Donald O’Connor, Frank Sinatra, Leslie Caron, Cyd Charisse, and the tragic “The Red Shoes” with the gorgeous Moira Shearer; I was enthralled my them all.
Fast forward to Houston, TX., 1972, where I snagged my first substantial post- college job as Promotion Director for the Houston Ballet. Every day I got to hang with the dancers, watch them practice and occasionally take class with them. Wish I had a picture of my pint-sized self amongst all those long, languid dancers! I was there for every performance, including umpteen “Nutcrackers”. My husband and I became friends with the Finnish stars of the company; I ferried around visiting guest artists from New York like Ted Kivitt and Cynthia Gregory from ABT. It was divine!
Much later, when I moved to Santa Fe, I was invited to join the board of the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet and again indulged my love of dance with a great regional company. Santa Fe drew many other companies and I delighted in performances by Hubbard Street, Paul Taylor and others.
Once we moved near New York, world class dance was available 24/7. I would see it all, if finances allowed. Most recently, we were able to take in “An American in Paris” on Broadway with Robert Fairchild of NYC Ballet and Leanne Cope. I am a sucker for a sexy pas de deux and their climactic finale to the sumptuous Gershwin score was sensual to the max.
Next anxiously anticipated performance is my lovely and leggy step-granddaughter, Micaela, in June doing the Spanish dance from “Nutcracker.” Can hardly wait!
So, “Dance, Ballerina, Dance”. A chance occurrence or a significant link to a life-long love affair with dance? You decide.
If you want to check out what was #1 in Pop music on the day of your birth, go to http://www.thisday in music.com
For more artwork by Johanna Bohoy, go to