I was convinced from a very early age that not only was I not a dancer but that I shouldn’t even try to dance. I was five years old and had just started kindergarten. I was hanging out with my friend Bridgette at her apartment (this may have been the only time I was invited, actually). We were listening to the radio and dancing when one of her sisters/cousins came in and said, “What are you doing? White girls can’t dance!” and walked out of the room. I was devastated. I immediately stopped dancing. I’m quite certain I began to cry, too. I know that by the time I’d walked the three blocks back to my house that I was fully hysterically crying. When I walked in the door and my mother saw me I begged her to make me black so that I could dance again.
When I met my first ever BFF Riana we hung out all of the time! She, too, lived only a few blocks from my house and so I would go to her place a lot (the house I grew up in was a disgusting mess and I was not allowed guests). We would always dance and sing and do cartwheels and flips in the yard. We had choreographed dance routines for just about every song on the radio and all of her records (we’re talkin’ vinyl, chi’ren). I distinctly recall our faux-jogging dance routine to Joe Jackson’s “Steppin’ Out” and what we thought looked like cheer leading to Toni Basil’s “Hey Mickey” among others. We never judged each other or allowed others in our musical bubble.
As time went on we began to hang out with these other girls in the apartment complex by Riana’s house. We would come up with dance numbers for every song on Debbie Gibson’s “Out of the Blue”…proudly! I would always try to sing and dance, because I was going to be a huge pop star! They all believed me, too. We were all quite supportive of one another. Ahhhh, youth! Ha-ha! Things quickly changed, though. Girls began gossiping and spreading lies about each other. Fights and silent treatments happened and well, then puberty.
In the fourth grade our school had it’s first talent show. Now this was simply a show, no prizes or anything. I wanted to dance in it and had planned on doing a solo routine (Riana had switched schools by this time) to Whitney Houston’s “How Will I Know” but when I told the teacher the name of the song she just kept saying, “Well can you tell me some of the lyrics, then?” I don’t remember why I ended up asking my friend Sonia to dance and lip synch with me, but she did. We dressed in blue t-shirts with black rutched leggings to the Bangles “Manic Monday.” It was full of awkward side stepping and odd hand gestures. Ha!
The following year I went balls out and wore a huge black crinoline with a black top with sall white polka dots tied at the waist with my first ever pair of high heels (thrifted, the tips worn down to the nails). To this I really broke out of my shell! I did a one-handed cartwheel, a forward flip and so much sassy hip shakin’ for a ten year old! Oh! This I did to Madonna’s “Where’s the Party!” Fabulous! (Except for the rehearsal where I forgot I wasn’t wearing underwear because my mom hadn’t done laundry in ages…so embarrassing!)
Sixth grade I think is when I finally became the awkward geeky teen I now know I was. I wore denim knee length shorts, cuffed tightly of course, with a side knotted tee and a bright red tropical printed sideways baseball cap (where the fuck did I get that thing?!). I did what I thought were hella sick hip hop moves to Sir Mix A Lot’s “Buttermilk Biscuits” (please do not look up this song, you’ll surely piss yourself laughing or simply think less of me! Ha-ha!).
My first year of junior high could be described in one word: terror! I got beat up at school every single fucking day by about thirty Mexican girls as well as a particularly large bully girl (whom I later beat at chicken in my Dodge and she grew terrified of me, woot!). Also…BOYS! I was loco for boys and they consumed my every non-bully-avoiding thought. I tried cigarettes behind the school and pretty much stopped dancing unless it was at a dance, with a boy. I was in the school play in the eighth grade, which I loved, but that was it. In high school I danced in a talent show, but for the life of me I can’t remember the song. I remember that I was supposed to have other people dancing with me but no one showed day-of and so I fucking winged that shit!
I have not performed since. I have no formal training, I have only taken belly dance classes in the last year. But you know what? I’m a fucking dancer! Dance is in my soul and I will never allow anyone to take that away from me again! I have done plenty of public speaking in my old career and at Fatty Affair, but that is all. Until now, that is! 😉
On May 25th & 26th I will be performing a dance number with FFE owner and friend of mine Tigress in the Big Moves show En Masse!!! I have not danced, except for in da club, in 17 years! I could not be more happy and excited about it, though. I feel like I am finally letting go of so much old bullshit heaped upon me from back when. I am surrounded by positive and incredible people and community. I could not ask for a better way to dip my toe back into the performance waters. And Tigress is amazing! It was her idea and I was so flattered and stoked that she asked me…ME?! Ha-ha!
So, if you’re local, please come and check me out! But seriously, come see an incredible show of body positive people whom I know and love and support, and so should you! Now…back to rehearsing! 😉