Never been a trained dancer. On reflection, never been one who toes the line, learns the rules. That’s just me. But man, oh man, did I want to be a dancer. My mum was apparently legendary. She never wanted for a dance partner, was always in demand for parties. Yet she made it all the way to the age of 25, and a virgin, without marrying, and that was pretty good in her day. Lots of proposals, she just hadn’t met the right partner.
Most of the other ‘babes’ were snapped up way before mum. But she, no she, was going to find a proper Romeo. Not for her the ordinary, work a day guys. No, she wanted a husband who could trip the light fantastic with her. So what did she do? She married her brother’s chum, a loose cannon from her brother’s regiment in the Van Doos, a troop that would become known world over as a ‘never say die’ group of guys. (Unfortunately, that same troop would also become one of the first known survivors of a judicious dusting of Agent Orange, but that’s a story for another time.)
She met my dad in January, married him in March, and I was born in December. Cutting it close! The clock must have been ticking, because she even let him off the dancing hook. Neither of them knew what hit them –it was love at first sight at its most violent. The best dad could do was set her up with an apartment in Quebec City, with a puppy, and tell her “I’ll be back” a la Schwarzenegger. By the time she was showing, dad was stationed in the Arctic, and mum was back with her own family in Montreal, awaiting my birth.
But I digress. Mum was a dancer. I have always been a stick figure, with arms and legs completely disproportionate to my body. However, like all young girls who grew up in the 60’s, I really thought I could dance. I didn’t need any instruction … by the age of five I was doing the twist on Montreal’s Beaver Lake mountain side café for CFCF TV! And by the time I was a teen, it was ‘let it all hang out.’ What a great time to be a completely uncoordinated stick figure!
Then DISCO hit. The 70s threw all of the wanna be hippies for a loop, since we were suddenly expected to do line dances, and throw interesting figures into the mix. Ok – stop – maybe that was a Montreal thing. I’m sure there are tons of places in North America who didn’t expect the entire population to suddenly become disco fluent. But I lived in Montreal, and my chosen environment, Crescent Street, had a strict code. Either you stood off to the side, looking too cool to EVER dance, or you got into the mix, and let your backbone slide. For me, this was great. I had a gymnastics background, I was a stick figure… it all worked for me.
But if you had access to ‘Soul Train’… oh my my… you knew you didn’t even have the first idea of where the bump started and ended. My sister and I were aficionados, we studied, but we could never get anywhere near the pelvic thrusts that both the male and female dancers had down pat.
We were Soul Train rejects. Didn’t stop us from having some seriously cool times, but we knew, oh, we knew, we could never even come close to the teenage dancers who scooted the line with flair and panache. It is my shame, and yet … how I love to watch those long ago dancers show me what for.
Please google or youtube “Soul Train Line Dance” to see what I’m talking about.