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June 08, 2002
I got rhythm, I got issues.

Dancing baby. I was born with rhythm in my bones. Really. My mother forgot to turn the radio off one time when she left me alone in the carriage. She found me next to the carriage when she came back. I danced so hard, I fell out. Next time I was bucked up, radio was on, my mother not in the room. Upon arrival she found the carriage on top of me. I was still wiggling my behind. Yeah, I was a wild dancer. Always have been. Nothing could stop me. The music could not stop me, my dance partners could not stop me. I would just go. Fred Astair was my favorite step-dancer. I was more creative though. My body would become absolutely electrified and I would shake wildly, each body part following a different instrument in the track. I was a dancing king. That was in Poland.
When we came to Germany, I knew that dancing would be my universal language. This would be able to communicate with the natives. At the first dance of the Tümpelgardenschule in Hanau, at a dance organized for the 6th grade, I got the chance to get my first dance with Melanie Hartmann. I had a crush on this girl, and I knew that even though she did not understand a word I was saying, I would be able to jumpstart the chemistry by just doing my creative dance-moves, my shakes, my throws, my head-bangs. The song that came on was something by Elvis. I was ON!, my head was doing the guitar, my hips were doing the percussion and my feet could hardly keep me upright, because my hands were expressing Elvis’ voice. Boy, I was at my best. Melanie did some weird air kicking. And so did all the other kids in the room. At least until they saw me. Because this was when the dancing stopped, at least for them. I was on a high. A dance-solo baby! I was the center of gravity in the room. And just as their stares landed at me, so did their laughter.
I did not know this air kicking thing. I had my own rules. They had some special Swing thing going on. I had my own thing. They laughed. They all laughed. Melanie laughed too. And I could not explain. I was the Polish kid, who did not know the language. And now I was the fool.
And I swore to myself to never dance again.
I did not dance at any school-dance, I did not dance at my graduations, I did one dance at my wedding. That was it. Whenever the music went on I would just remember Melanie Hartmann and the others... (I danced to the Charlatans, don’t get me wrong, I danced whenever nobody saw me, or in the dark, just never those “formal dances”, with a partner.)
Today is a special day indeed. We just came back from a “dance lesson”. An introduction, in a dance school. On 61st and Broadway. The teacher was nice, there were four couples. There was some partner switching for the dances and nobody laughed. Nobody really knew what they were doing, except maybe for this one girl, who was doing something extremely right. Oh, and there was this lady in her 50’s maybe, in a flowery dress. And she was so happy to dance. It made me happy to dance with her. I kept my special dances to myself, did no head banging, shaking, just the simple stuff. We had plenty of fun. I think. And nobody laughed, except for joy. Oh well... It might be finally the right time to learn that stupid swing.


Me dance? No way, but I have tried. I took Swing lessons a couple of years ago, and went nowhere. I am a musician at heart (I do play trumpet, guitar, drums) but I cannot dance if my life depended on it. I feel every beat, and live for a good bass line, but dancing is not for me, but I LOVE to watch good dancers.

Have you visited Swing 46 yet? I have been there several times during my NYC visits. In fact I have hit many clubs there - I LOVE NEW YORK!

Posted by: Pat on June 10, 2002 02:36 PM
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