Monday, December 21, 2009

My Golden Dancers

Appearances are Deceiving

By Elita Clayman

I am not ashamed to say I love soap operas. I have been watching them since I got married 49 years ago. I first started viewing one of them at 1:30 in the afternoon. Here is why.

My husband had a grandmother when I married him. I never had any grandparents because they were all deceased before I was born. My new grandmother Annie loved to watch one particular soap called As the World Turns. So in order to have something to converse with her about, I would turn on this show. Then I would call her on the phone the next day and we would talk about the storyline. I adored this little old lady who was my grandmother-in-law.

It was fun to talk to an old lady who was about 88 then about the silly storylines on the serial. We would conduct a lengthy discussion on the day’s happenings, and I felt good knowing I shared a little moment in her life. I loved her so much.

We can all find a person in our lives that came into our life at a later time and who influences us a bit and we in turn influence them and we have something in common, even a soap opera story.

Many times when we are out dancing at a competition or a social dance or even a group dance lesson, we will meet a stranger that appeals to us either as just a friend or maybe something romantic could happen. We talk, we dance, we mingle, we socialize, and we dream of what could be taking place.

Once, when we were social dancing on a Saturday night at the dance studio, there was a very short man who was dancing with a very short woman. We assumed they were married; they danced beautifully together and were very coordinated and enchanting in their movements. I was told after seeing them many times and thinking they were a darling couple that they were actually brother and sister. I then could see the resemblance after hearing that. So two siblings, each single, had taken up ballroom dancing. They had no other partners and they enjoyed their dancing and their activity so much that they appeared to be a married couple or a dating couple to the average person who saw them dance.

Another time, a father brought his teenage daughter to the dances. She danced with her dad and a few younger men and then sat a lot. I found out that her mom had died and her father wanted to go out on Saturday to dance and did not want to leave her alone so soon after the demise of the parent. She came often but, after several months, she stopped. This was not a place for a teen with all adults, and so he ceased to bring her and let her be with her own age group. She had become an excellent dancer.

One day, a fellow walked in with long hair, and he reminded me of a singer named Tiny Tim. He came with an Asian lady and they danced very well. He looked quite weird with his long hair for this time in his aged life but when he danced you forgot the ugly hair and saw the two meld as one and dance the night away. They were a married couple. His hair was longer than hers and once you got past the mane, you saw him as a different person. So looks can be deceiving and not an accurate noting of a person and who they really are.

Soap operas depict people who are often like ordinary people. Other times, they depict people who are wealthy and powerful and who try to demean the every day person and from that evolves stories that go on and on. Many times, a story will be relevant to life as it is now and of illnesses people have and emotional problems between members of a family and social contacts too.

People with long hair, brothers and sisters, fathers and daughters, grandparents-in-law and just regular folks ballroom dance and when they dance, we do not know what their job or profession is. A short guy can be a revered physician or lawyer, a father can be a successful business man, a long haired fellow can be an accomplished certified public accountant and a granddaughter-in- law who found the love of a soap opera through her new husband’s grandmother can be a writer of dance articles.

Ballroom dancing brings together people of all walks of life and in doing so we examine our hearts and our souls and we find ourselves addicted to this inspiring activity that nurtures our every moment with hours of excitement and exercise. We do not need shows like Dancing with the Stars to enhance our days.

Real ballroom dancers do not take seven hours of lessons six days a week to learn as these people do. They go about this in a manner that a normal ballroom dancer does not. We do not take forty hours a week (we could not afford the cost and our bodies could not take the rigorous activity). We, with our teachers, do not do the show stopping routines even with a competition. We do not learn one dance a day for the whole seven hours. If we did, we would not survive and continue on. We would be bored, tired and restless.

My main concern with shows like this is that they do not portray the reality of learning to ballroom dance. They portray a specific and intense manner of learning that is really not productive for us as regular people. I think that when we see someone in our group or our studio or our dance class who is really trying hard to become excellent, then that is who we should emulate.

The kid with her dad, the brother and sister, the long haired man and the soap opera addict (who loves to dance - me) are the ones people should imitate. They are the true and meaningful ballroom dancers who will inspire others to dance. That way, ballroom dancing will survive because real people like us are expanding the public’s notion on who ballroom dancers actually are. We dancers are special people performing a delightful performance of outstanding learning and happiness.

Ballroom dancing is something meaningful to us. We are the panorama and the view is beautiful and we are ever the brightness of the dance floor. We continue on and we are constantly evolving into the best we can be.

We are the bright lights in the dancing world and no one can extinguish our joy, our delight and our spirit in what we do.
We are on 52 weeks a year. Nothing can stop us. We are excellent and we know it.

1 comment:

BToS JD said...

As usual, Elita, your article offers wonderful perspective on life. As you know, I am not a danccer, but I can relate to meeting people late in life that have had dramatic effect on me.

Your articles always give me cause to think.

Thanks again,