Tuesday, January 3, 2012
However, every now and again I think about those things that still might be possible. These things surely come from my delusional mind and they hang out deep in my naive, immature, and denial place. I get it.
It wasn't too long ago that I still believed that I could become a professional dancer. It had always been a dream.
I used to take the train into Manhattan, from Westchester, for dance class every weekend. As soon as I stepped off the train, I thought I was a dancer. I walked around the city with my feet turned out in first position, which hurt like a mother f'er, especially since I wasn’t actually a dancer, but it looked authentic. I wore leg warmers, carried a dance bag down to my knees, and took up smoking, because all dancers smoked. I pulled my hair back so tight I couldn’t blink, and I jazz walked down Broadway dreaming of becoming a Fosse dancer.
It's unfair that self help books, and Oprah, all say it's never too late and that if you can dream it, you can be it. Isn't that false advertising?
I always believed that all it took was drive, passion and money. But several years ago I had my doubts. What if I was wrong? What if it was too late? I decided to seek the advice of a professional.
Dear Mr. Ben Vereen:
I am not in my early 20’s. But I’ve taken ballet, tap and jazz on and off, mainly off, since I was 7. I won a Best Actress in a Musical award for “Chicago” and Best Dancer in a Musical award for “Working” at Stagedoor Manor, Theater Performing Arts Center, in Loch Sheldrake, New York in 1981. I never entered a dance contest but I watched “Dance Fever” religiously from 1979 to 1985. I recently took a hip hop class, but after 15 minutes I ran out crying because I couldn’t pop and lock like the 13 year olds. I started taking Jazz class again. It’s every Saturday morning and the teacher is a former “Solid Gold” dancer. I’m so excited. I’ve missed the last few months of class but I plan to get back to it really soon. Since I’ve been back on the scene, I’ve realized that dance isn’t just a part of my life, it is my life. I’m a dancer. A dancer dances and I must dance.
My friend Jamie compliments me all the time, and that makes me want it even more. I’m determined to make my dream a reality. My technique isn’t that strong. Yet. I’m pretty slow in learning combinations and I still don’t know what a port de bras is. But being in Jazz class and seeing the movie, “Chicago”, twice, I think it’s all coming back to me.
I have bunions, bad knees and a stiff neck. Otherwise I’m in great shape. Just the other night I was able to spread eagle over my boyfriend’s head.
Anyway, what’s your advice on getting started in the dance profession at my advanced age. Is it too late? Thanks and keep on dancing, love, Dani.
I'm still waiting for an answer.