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Success Stories
An older dancers story and successes
By SoloJazzDancer Comments: 21529, member since Wed Jun 30, 2004
On Sun Jan 16, 2011 11:11 PM

I was born very small in 1954. I was born in April not May. I don't know how early I actually was but mom says they had a hard time finding clothing for me. In those days they didn't make Preemie anything. If you see the movies of mom taking me home from the hospital, all you can see is a blanket! I'm in there somewhere! LOL

Up until I was a year old, I had a Calcium Deficiency. My mom took me to 2 pediatricians, which in those days were a new breed of doctor. It figures, I was good when I went to the doctors. They told my mom she was just a new nervous mother, that I was fine. My mom said I cried until my face turned blue and I scrunched my knees under my chin. She said my bones must have hurt when I was growing which wasn't much. I was still a small baby. She couldn't do any noisy housework when I was sleeping, which wasn't to much, because I would wake up screaming. My dad and mom walked the floor w/me at night. My dad had my grandpa's appliance store and my mom didn't work. How could she? She was probably very sleep deprived. So was my dad and in those days, dad's didn't help w/the kids. I admire him for that. Both parents were married and still are, in 1950 and my parents weren't teens. I can't imagine 2 teens being able to handle me without abusing me. Now teens abuse their kids for almost no reason. I am thankful that didn't happen to me.
My grandparents lived up above us (it was a 2 story house) so grandma did some babysitting so my parents could have some rest or go out. They sure needed it. My grandma was an amazing Italian who died of bone cancer when I was 8 or 9. I still miss her. My mom said the only thing that would keep me quiet was to sit in front of the TV in my little rocky seat thing watching American Bandstand. Dick Clark had a dance show during the day at that time. Even then I was probably bopping to the music. LOL Whatever it took, right? In those days doctors made house calls and our family doctor was visiting my grandma. She told him about me, he listened to me crying from upstairs and he said he knew what the problem was. Can you imagine that? He saw me downstairs and diagnosed what 2 baby doctors couldn't. My mom had to crush up pills and put them in my milk.

When I was a young girl, in grade school but I don't remember what age or grade I was in, I wanted to take dance class. All the girls in the neighborhood took dance and some took 2 or 3 classes. I wanted to dance like the kids on Bandstand or on Hullabaloo or Shindig complete w/a costume. Since my dad owned his own business, he didn't make a lot of money so my parents couldn't afford dance classes for me. God knew how much I wanted to dance and he made sure I got my dance classes. Did I mention I went to Catholic school? Yes, and God is still very much in my life today like he was then. My neighborhood friends taught me to dance! My dad took my gold sparkly Mary Jane shoes to a neighborhood shoemaker and had taps put on. They were the only people to have a paved driveway and that's where we danced. I was in Heaven! I didn't get a costume but I didn't care. I got to dance and that was all I cared about. We even put on shows for people in the neighborhood, kind of like Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney. It was so much fun!

Flashforward to my Freshman year in high school. My parents let me take a dance class, Jazz. A dance class! Can you believe it? I was so excited! The stipulation was my grades had to be good to take the next year. I stayed back in 4th grade and didn't do that well in school. I took semi-private but a lot of the time the other girl didn't show up so it was private. It was so much fun and I knew this is what I wanted to keep doing. Now to keep my grades up because High School was hard. We had a recital in the studio! It was small and I can't believe that's where we had it but it was so much fun! I loved dancing in front of my family and an audience of a few others. I couldn't wait for the next year. I was 16 I think if I remember correctly. Kind of old to formally start dancing but who cared? I got to dance and that was all I cared about. I still watched Bandstand and any show that had rock groups on and or dancing. I wanted to be on Bandstand so bad! By the time my grades came out the next year, and they weren't so good, plus it was to late to sign up for class, dance wasn't in my future for a while. A long while. They say good things come to those who wait. I believe that. God knew I still wanted to dance and dance I did.

Fastforward to my first year out of high school. I was 20 years old. My parents said if I still wanted to dance (are you kidding?!) they would pay for one year of classes. My sisters got organ lessons and both quit. Since I didn't get anything, they would give me this. Then I had to pay for them on my own. I thought I had died and gone to Heaven! I signed up w/a teacher for Jazz who put me in a beginner class of teens! The problem? At 4'7" tall and 73 lbs., I looked younger than all of them! When we did a telethon on our local TV channel, the announcer almost had a coronary when he found out how old I was and what school I didn't go to! It was really funny! I danced w/this class for 5 years and then my teacher asked if I wanted to take private lessons. She said I was progressing so well and I must feel weird dancing w/teens. I didn't but private was way better than a class because now I got to pick my own music, not what the teacher wanted for the class. Does life get any better than this? I think not!

I loved my dance teacher and even babysat for her son when she wasn't home. I did it 2 or 3 days a week and she paid me! He was so adorable! She got Cancer and died in her 30's, much to young. She was still my teacher when she passed on. She was an amazing lady and I learned a lot from her. I still miss her and know she is watching me dance and is amazed at my progress. One of her students took over the studio and I found out we went to high school together! We were not friends in high school but we because fast friends in dance. I even babysat her kids too! I seem to babysit for everyone's kids.

My teacher left dance for 2 years so she could spend more time w/her kids and sold her studio to a student. That student couldn't handle it even though she convinced her parents to buy the studio for her. My dance teacher came back and I still continued to take. I never moved out of the studio we had even though I had a new teacher for 2 years. Students came and went but I continued dancing and private lessons. Now I am in my 30's and 40's and am more limber than when I first started, even more then when I was a teen! We used to do this flat back exercise on the bar and I couldn't do it! My teacher didn't want to force me because she was afraid she would hurt me. Now I could do it no problem! Go me! LOL

We never did competitions until the 90's. I'd have to go find my first trophy to find the date but it was I Love Dance and the 40 and over catagory. I always had to show ID. We now do a different competition but I have 5 trophies, and 5 are first place tropies because I am the only one in my catagory! I love it! Competing is so much fun! I put so much into my dance and I know the judges can tell. I usually get pretty good scores for someone my age. I even got a surprise award one year that no one knew about excpet the judges and it was called The Hot Mama Award! Boy was I excited1 That was the best ever! One of my trophies comes up to my waist! It's huge! I love it! We didn't compete last year because my teacher had some health problems and I hope we do this year.

My teacher had to retire about 6 years ago or so due to blood clots in her legs. No more dance for her. What was I supposed to do? Her daughter stepped in and she is also a good teacher. Hey, she had a good teacher! LOL Every so often when we are fooling around, I will say "I changed your diapers." I'm the only one who gets to say that. She's not offended.

I took 6 years of Tap with my now teachers mom and my now teacher. I loved it too and it's like riding a bike, you never forget. Those tap lessons I took in the 60's in the driveway of my friends house never left me! I bought Tap shoes but they were from Payless shoe stores and they were terrible. Someone found a pair in their basement that didn't fit them anymore and I got them. They sounded way better than the ones I bought. I still have them but not my class. They broke up and I couldn't afford private in that class too. Darn! We only did the recital once because I was the only one who ever wanted to do it. The year we broke up was the year we did the recital. It was a blast and I was mad every year that everyone was afraid of getting up on stage. They were a bunch of party poopers! LOL

I'm now 56 and still dance private once a week. I can almost do a full split, something I could never, ever do before. Can you imagine that? Go me! LOL I am hoping to get it perfect and I am almost there. Wouldn't that be amazing?! I think so. I can do more things now then I ever could do when I was much younger. I thank God for that. My teacher has said that I am an amazing dancer for someone my age and she said my kicks are better than some 30 year olds she has seen. She has also said that most of her students are not as excited over dance like I am and don't love doing competitions or the recital like I do. No one wanted to do competiton last year and then she got sick. She says if I ever stop dancing, she will close up her studio. Wow! That is the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me. I plan to keep dancing until I can dance no more due to injury or death. When I die, I plan to dance in Heaven for God, Jesus, the Angels and Saints and then even after that! Who says your to old to dance? Not me, that's for sure!

1 Replies to An older dancers story and successes

re: An older dancers story and successes
By smileywomanmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 11032, member since Sat Sep 17, 2005
On Tue Feb 01, 2011 03:12 PM
Your story about being a premature baby reminded me of how my mom and grandma said that I was so little that I fit in my grandpa's hands.

It's a good thing that your mom was so deligent in getting your proper care so you could be successful in your early life of being born premature.

Wow, you started out with dance like I did! I couldn't afford 'real' lessons when I started and was lucky enough to be taught with my friend whose mom was a dance teacher and didn't charge me because we were so poor.

What great memories of your dancing for the neighbors when you were a kid. The passion to dance was clearly there from a very early age. :D

It was so nice that your parents supported your dancing when you graduated from High School, and even nicer that you were able to dance with your teacher for so many years.

It's cool that you got to compete and obviously, you love to perform. How VERY awesome to be dancing at the same studio (although you've had so many teachers).

...I can do more things now then I ever could do when I was much younger. I thank God for that. My teacher has said that I am an amazing dancer for someone my age...


I can SO relate to this statement. It's like we're sisters!

I plan to keep dancing until I can dance no more due to injury or death. When I die, I plan to dance in Heaven for God, Jesus, the Angels and Saints and then even after that! Who says your to old to dance? Not me, that's for sure!

WOW, so inspirational!

Thanks for sharing.

Hugs,

Maria

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