Monday, June 22, 2009

My Golden Dancers

Joy, Hope and Faith

By Elita Clayman

My dad many years ago, before I was born had some money. He bought some stock with a name on it that appealed to him emotionally. He let it sit in the safety deposit box and when I married Jerry, he told Jerry he still had the paper all these many years later. We checked it out and it had changed names and through the years had multiplied and was worth in the 1960’s about sixty thousand dollars. Dad had probably paid about several hundred dollars for it because he liked the name of the company.

So when it was finally cashed in about 1960, he had passed away and Mom had some extra security that she had only become aware of then. Names mean different things to various people. Parents name their children a name that they like. Many children do not like their given name and ask mom and dad, why did you name me that?

I have an unusual first name and I disliked it until I was eighteen. Then a magical thing occurred and all of a sudden I loved it. I could call up on the phone and say this is Elita, not even giving a last name. I could sign a register at an office and say Elita and no last name. I vowed that I would name my children regular names as I called them. So I did.

Jewish people name their newborns the name of a deceased loved one. If you had a grandmother named Sarah and you had a baby girl, you could name it Sarah or Sharon or Sophie or Sally. The reason behind it was to have the deceased finally rest in peace because they were remembered. We also give the child a Hebrew name which was the deceased’s name. For instance, Sarah in Hebrew would be Sura, so the child is Sarah in English and Sura in Hebrew. The Hebrew name is used for certain occasions like birth, confirmation, marriage and death. Then the Hebrew name along with the English name is recited etc.

Now days, the young folks will name their child Sura in Hebrew but in English they will name her Ashley or Courtney or Madeleine. They do not stick with the same initial as they did in my time. So names change and customs change and attitudes change. However, the meaning is the same, still naming after a beloved and deceased person. You hope that the new baby will be the same kind of person as was named for, good, dear and smart. You would never name the child after a relative or friend that you detested.

My mother’s brother and his wife had a baby girl and the day before she was born, my uncle lost his sister. So the daughter was named after the father’s sister who had died the day before. Her name was Elizabeth and so the baby girl became Elizabeth but they tacked on the name of a relative who had lived to be ninety as the second name- Lois. The reason being that the first Elizabeth, the sister had died at an early age of thirty-eight and the new parents wanted to insure that their Elizabeth lived the long life of the second relative Lois.

When we ballroom dance, we learn the names of the dances. Some of the dances have sweet names and other dances have stronger names. The Paso Doble really sounds quite Spanish and elicits the feeling in you that you are in Spain and you are performing before the crowds and though there is no bull there, one can conjure up the bull’s photo in their mind. The Rumba signifies the romance of this Latin time and makes one feel a bit sexy.
The Bolero sounds like a piece of clothing, but it is not. The Bolero is a form of the Rumba and it also can be very sexy. The Waltz is something that one thinks of as doing at a wedding as a first dance. Ballroom dancers know that waltzes are a really neat and lovely dance to do especially with someone you care about. The Swing makes one feel young again especially if your age is seniordom. The Cha Cha evokes memories of having fun and movement and exercise. TheTango is known as a dance of love and controlled movement and very theatrical. My husband and I way back in the early eighties were advocates of the Hustle. We would go to the Hustle night spots and dance all evening non stop and only sitting down for a light dinner or a drink. I wonder how we lasted dancing non stop though of course we were forty years younger at that time.

Did you ever wonder if the dance steps in the Hustle had been called the Waltz, how we would react to a dance called that with the energetic steps of the Hustle? Suppose the Cha Cha had been called the Foxtrot, how our bodies would be moving at that pace. If the Foxtrot had been called the Paso, would it have been as fiery?
So names evoke, stimulate, arouse and waken thoughts in our minds and bodies. Girls with male names (which are somewhat popular now) must have a hard time trying to be feminine. Girls named Sydney stir up masculine thoughts in my mind. I knew a man named Sydney in my working days and he was a wimp and or a nerd. He was nice and polite but if I meet a girl named Sydney, I see him. Of course, that is silly, but true. Doctors cannot have wimpy names because the patient will react negatively to him.
A doctor I knew many years ago had a rhyming name. His mom thought it funny to give him a name like Terry Rerry. His name was called over the intercom at the hospital, patients and medical personnel always smiled. He was a great doctor but his name created fun and snickers. I had an endodontist, a dentist specializing in root canals and his name was Dr. Brave. A nice name for him because people are not feeling too brave when attempting a procedure like root canal work.

Names can affect how we dress. If we have a masculine name and we are female, perhaps we think of our self as not so girly or womanly. If we have a meek name, we may appear in our mind as meek when we really are strong. The same thing happens when we dance. If our teacher, by chance says ‘today you are really dancing like Ginger’ we all of a sudden become Ginger and our shoulders react and our feet fall into place and we float off and down the floor. If our teacher says ‘today, you are really dancing like a wallflower’ then we become that wallflower.

The cardiologist getting ready to examine my heart and lungs and etc, said “come on over here beautiful.” At that moment I became beautiful because he had said it. Of course, I am, but so what? The significance of that remark fired into my mind a minute of beauty. Even if I had not looked good that day, I would have thought I looked good. All because a semi stranger, a medical person who himself is quite good looking said that word.

So names and words can beautify our lives whether we are seniors, children, young adults or really elderly. Words electrify and have been known to start wars. We should all learn to use our vocabulary to instill sweetness, goodness, happiness and joy. Whatever our given names are, we do not have to like it but we can make it a word of happiness. My firstborn’s middle name is Joy. That to us she has always been. If her second name had been Faith or Hope, that she would have been. If her name had been something other, I am sure she would have still been Joy. So always remember that someone’s name may evoke something in you and even if it is not lovely, still look at the person as if their name was Faith or Hope or Joy. Then it will be ours because we will have in our heart-faith, hope, joy and goodness.

The new singing sensation from England Susan Boyle was thought to be quite plain and frumpy by the judges as she came out on the stage for the talent contest there recently. They even kind of sneered at her until she opened her mouth and the most melodious and beautiful voice came out. Their sneers turned to admiration as to her talent and she placed second in the final days of the contest. A good lesson to learn from that is not to judge people by their clothes, hair, nails or even if they have a turkey neck. Judge them by their deeds and accomplishments. Susan Boyle is a wonderful example of feelings we should have in relationship to people’s looks and to give them a chance to show us their delightful achievement.

When I was about seventeen I went to audition to become a teenage model for a part time job in a very nice department store. When I got there, I thought lo and behold I will never win the coveted place because I saw there a girl from my high school who I always thought had the cutest nose. So right away I thought she would win even though my ‘figure’ was as slim as hers. Neither of us won but a few months later I became a teenage fashion model for another store and modeled clothing every Saturday morning for many months. I would go on Thursdays on the bus from high school downtown to the store called Stewarts and try on the clothes for the coming Saturday’s show. I never saw the girl with the cute nose there ever. I was chosen so her cute nose meant nothing. To me at the time it symbolized that I would lose. Lose I did not, I was a winner. We can all be winners if we have hope.

Keep on dancing and be Ginger and Fred and be filled with the joy that dancing gives to us and always have faith that we can continue dancing for many more years and hope that they will be filled with good health. Goodness will be our silent and loving and invisible name too. Joy will be ours forever and ever because we have the faith and the eternal hope. Cute noses do not matter, what matters is that we believe we have the power and the fortitude to accomplish wonderful things no matter what age we are.

Hope and Faith are really girls’ names now; we can adopt them as our ‘imaginary’ name to encourage our constant attempts to go forward. Forward and positive are other ‘imaginary’ names. As I mentioned in another article, little almost four year old Ethan, my number three grandson keeps on saying “go grammie go” when he sees me attempting the steep steps of his home when we visit. Yes, Ethan, Grammie is going and more going through her senior years and continuing on going like the Energizer bunny.

Grammie and all her senior ballroom dancers know that to keep on going is to keep on living the good and healthy life. That also applies to not yet seniors and almost seniors. We are adamant in maintaining and sustaining our time. Cicero said history is the witness of time. We are the witness in our own lives and we are determined to do so with gust and happiness.

Ballroom dancing and having fun and learning and keeping our minds active are what we are all about now at this time. No matter what age you are, you can always attempt something new and always have the hope and faith that it will all work out and be a fine activity. So as Cicero said our history of living is a good witness of the time we spend doing worthwhile activities.

Have joy, faith and hope and everything will be moving onward in your life.

Keep on dancing.

You can email me at


Anonymous said...

Joy when we dance
Hope we do well in comps
Faith that is good for our mental and physical health.

As always a fine and outstanding article Elita S.C.

Faith Joy Ambianiesi from California

Anonymous said...

nice new photo showing you are a good looking senior who does not hesitate to encourage us dance folks to do what you love second to your family and grandkids.'
you inspire us DAILY TO EXCELL AND THAT WE ARE DOING...Thanks and even tho have never met in person, we all feel like we know you.

From the dancers in Ohio who love to dance and read your articles on Fred Astaire site and the Rene site in Alabama. Mona and Rod and the Saturday Nite Dance Group

Anonymous said...

Great hope for us soon to be ballroom dancers from all these articles on Fred A. site.

Thanks so much

Vashti Cohen


Anonymous said...

Lovely, lovely story.

Virginia Louise Marks

Anonymous said...

Ballroom dancing and especially at any Fred Astaire studio is the best exercise one can get and especially senior super citizens.

We have been dancing since 1950's and we are fit, fine,finesse and full of joy.

We enjoy elita's articles everytime one is published.

Vanessa and Irving of California

Anonymous said...

Interesting article. I love these articles and read them every week or whenever they are changed.

Bravo Elita S.Clayman for your outlook on life as an active senior, slender,sincere,super and sexy.

Seniors no longer are sitting on their tussies and doing nothing.They are active. I am one of them too. You give us courage to go and dance, ballroom that is.

Anita and Austin from Texas

Anonymous said...

Hello there Elita Sohmer Clayman
Thanks so much for your enlightening and exciting articles all about the benefits of ballroom dance.

You sure stir up people to go out and dance. This is better than spending money in over priced restaurants, designer clothes and fancy shoes at my age of 29 and my husband of 36.

We have a baby age 19 mos and going out to dance and my mom watches him is something to look forward to at the end or beginning of the workweek.

Bless you and yours.

Meredith and Harvey M.

Anonymous said...


ARAMIS J.S. My wife and I are avid ballroom dancers and often go to Fred Astaire dances here.

Anonymous said...

Dance, Dance, dance and more dance. that is what we do after reading everyone of your articles since you been a writer for Fred Astaire.

We love Fred Astaire studio we go to, the teachers, the surroundings and you.

Maya Andrea

Anonymous said...

enticing article on dancing.

Miranda P. of Boston

Anonymous said...

Excellent. best writing around on Ballroom Dancing. Better than American Dancer magazine which used to be called Amateur Dancers and is now a showplace for professionals not amateurs alot

Emily Paula Anne Zobrin.

Anonymous said...

Excellent Article.

Mary Beth Longhorns

Anonymous said...

Wonderful article as always

Priscille G. from New York City

Anonymous said...


Betty Sue from Kentucky