Tuesday, January 3, 2012

When Is It Too Late?

 I know that at the young age of 45, it would be virtually impossible to become an Olympic figure skater. I get it.

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.


Anonymous said...

Dear Dani:

Have you considered trying out for So You Think You Can Dance?


Mr. Ben Vereen

a.eye said...

Your telling of it is mixed with humorous lines that made me smile.

I'm sure there are outlets where you can still pursue your dream of dancing. Maybe one day Ben will get back to you... and how awesome would that be?

thegirlfriendmom said...

Sylvia- I have considered it. I'm just waiting for my mom to finish sewing my costume.

a.eye- Thanks for stopping by and I'm glad that you smiled. Don't worry about me. I pursue my dream still, when I walk around NY and in my living room!

Nannette Turner said...

I have a dream to learn to dance and find a fabulous dance partner. Ah.. one day...

Keesha said...

As a former pro dancer, jazz, modern, etc, this cracked me up. Also I loved all the references to the 80s - Stagedoor Manor, Dance Fever, etc. Thanks for a great read.

A part of me says keep dancing, always and forever, amen. The other part wants to tell you to fling the church doors open and run screaming until that turned out ogress in pointe shoes, and her sassy jazz-walking, Fosse friend wearing those 4 inch high character heels can find you no longer...

thegirlfriendmom said...

Nannette- Thanks for stopping by and do it! Learn to dance. Don't put it off. You won't be sorry.

Keesha- I'm envious of your professional dancer status! Believe you me, if I could run I would. I've tried but I keep running in circles!

Kathy said...

I love you!! I use to take acting classes in NYC on Saturdays when I was a teenager, and I'm around the same age, I could have bumped into you and not even known it! I think we can do what we want to do at any age, it just might look different then we first thought it would. How about that for 20+ year of therapy!!! xo

Aimee said...

You kill me.

Kristyn Burtt said...

Maybe you should have written to Ann Reinking?

thegirlfriendmom said...

Hey Kristyn, not a bad idea. I'm on it. It's not too late, right!

Aimee- like you haven't heard this all before a thousand and one times. But I love you nonetheless!

thegirlfriendmom said...

I'm sure that was you at the corner of 79th and Broadway. 20+ years of therapy has taught you well, my little yogi. Thanks for the lovely comment. xoxx

Michael Ann said...

Spread eagle over your boyfriend's head? :-)

I think many of the American Idol singing contestants feel the same about singing as you do about dancing :-)

thegirlfriendmom said...

Quite a visual that spread eagle eh... I love your music clips on your site! Thanks for stopping by.