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Mike Redmond Column

Please refer to the Mike Redmond Column main page for columns published in other issues.
Mike can be contacted via e-mail at mike@mikeredmondonline.com.

 

 

 

 'Dance Fever' Besets Aging Boomer

You know, I thought I was getting along pretty well for a guy my age, but I’ve just realized there’s a serious gap in my learning: I can’t dance.

Oh, I can go out on the floor and do a passable White Man Wedding Reception Stumble as long as the DJ is playing “Celebrate” by Kool and The Gang, and I can Twist when I need to and do the Chicken Dance when required. But other than that, I can’t dance for diddly. And if Diddly were here, he’d probably agree. This needs to change.

I’ve been thinking about it since I emceed the Indianapolis Senior Center Senior Prom, and got to watch the local Freds and Gingers whirling around the dance floor of the Indiana Roof Ballroom in their tuxes and gowns.

It strikes me that dancing is something a man should know how to do, along with tying a bow tie (check), mixing a proper martini (got it), baking a loaf of bread (easy), preparing food that doesn’t involve an outdoor grill (roger wilco), changing a diaper (oh, all right) and performing brain surgery (still working on this one).

Now, I’m not talking that whirly-twirly Dancing With the Stars baloney. That’s showoff dancing. I’m talking about moving around the floor, holding on to a partner, and doing it with a little panache, or at least not making a fool of yourself.

There were no such fools on the floor at the prom. They glided though the waltzes, bounced through the fox trots, slinked through the tangos. They mamboed, they rhumbaed, they  cha-cha-cha’d. I even saw a couple of Charlestons. They did it with style and ease and confidence … and made me envious because I couldn’t dance like that on the best day I ever had.

Actually, I’m not alone. It did not escape my notice that almost all the people on the dance floor were seniors, and the people watching appreciatively tended to be members of my gang, the so-called Baby Boomers. And more than one person my age or younger made some sort of remark about wanting to take dance lessons.

Memo to Fellow Boomers: Seems to me we’d better start, and the sooner the better. This used to be something everyone knew how to do. Now it’s considered special and unusual. And we Boomers are to blame. We’d better get our fandangos moving before the fox trot goes on the Endangered Entertainments list.

Remember, we Boomers were the ones who thought we were cool when we decided to do things our own way, terpsichoreally speaking. I know that while we were out there shaking our grove things, we thought we looked great, but watch some movie footage of the dances of the 1960s and 1970s. Depending on the dance, we either look like puppets with half the strings cut, or a gathering of people who all have to go to the bathroom. No wonder our teachers always stood on the perimeter of our sock hops, smirking.

Well, it’s time to take action, for me anyway. I have a lot to learn, and it’s time I started learning it. It’s time to put my feet where my mouth is. Those brain surgery lessons will have to wait a while longer while I take care of more urgent matters – two-steps, waltzes and cha-cha-chas.

I wonder if Arthur Murray has an emergency plan.

 

 

 

© 2007 Mike Redmond. All Rights Reserved.