Thirty years ago I won a disco dance contest, which totally screwed up my life, because I mistakenly thought...I could dance.
At the time, I really thought I was awesome...but what my mind has chosen to forget over the years, is that it was college, the judges were probably very drunk, and I was only one of two people who entered and I was the female...jiggle, jiggle, jiggle, if you get my drift...and oh(!) it was an awesome prize all right! It was a Journey ALBUM...the one with Wheel in the Sky on it...
I don't need to tell you that winning a disco contest can really screw with your mind at dances, especially wedding dances, because over the years I would be the only one out on the dance floor who was sober! Why? Because I'm a serious dancer darn it!!! See above, I won a Journey album!
Six years ago when I was working at an adult contemporary radio station (What's an adult contemporary?...Think music by Michael Buble, Green Day, a couple of Christina Aguilera tunes and maybe a Carrie Underwood tune--at least one tune anyway--this was long before Katy Perry) I was asked by a cancer charity to dance in one of their "Dancing with the Stars" charity dance contest, and as you might imagine I was flattered and all over that...for about 45 minutes...that was the amount of time my first free lesson with my volunteer dance instructor lasted...(My (poor) professional dance instructor--who for whatever past life karma reasons had been saddled with Milwaukee's equivalent of a Jerry Springer...remember his performance on Dancing with the Stars...Jerry's final dance was compared to the Texas Chainsaw Massacre...and not in a good way. Jerry was a terrible dancer, but was kept in the competition by his legion of (what I can only imagine was sadistic) fans, until he BEGGED them to quit voting for him! My dance instructor spent a huge amount of my lessons telling me he had a bad back and would appreciate it if I just concentrated on a move called "the triple step.") I had a lot of problems with this very basic East Coast Swing move, until my daughter later pointed out to me that "triple," really means "three."
On the night of our big charity dance competition I won the trophy for 6th place, which would've seemed awesome if there had been 7 people in the dance contest...I even got beat by the owner of Klements Sausages who was over 70 years old at the time, and who danced around in a circle with an umbrella! So, as you can imagine, it just destroyed about any credibility I thought I might've had on the dance floor...all those years of wedding dances...all those wedding guests who over the years would tell me "you were really shaking it out there on the dance floor..." Those weren't compliments!!!
So this past summer I was asked by a charity (MargaretAnn's--provides hope and healing to grieving children here in Southwest Wisconsin. They provide free grief support to kids who have suffered the tramatic death of a loved one) to be in their Dancing with "our" Stars Gala at a local Casino. And I decided to do that for two reasons, first, I wanted to help grieving children, and second, because darn-it(!), I had something to prove.
This time I was so serious about dancing that I even went out and bought a DVD of Flashdance and Shall We Dance, (you know, the movie with Jennifer Lopez and Richard Gere...geez it sucked...)
But, I got a great deal--2 for 12 bucks from Amazon and a tub of popcorn, and that is what I did for an entire weekend...I sat in front of the tube watching Jennifer Beals taking it off for the umpteenth time while enjoying a tub of popcorn...I drew one very big conclusion from Jennifer's movie...in no way would stripping anything off, help me win this dance contest.
My new dance instructor was at least 20 years younger then my first dance teacher, and this would've been great except I was now 6 years older then the last time I danced, and at least 30 pounds heavier, so this proved to be a potential liability (think HEADLINE...Out of shape classic country music jock suffers heart attack while practicing the East coast swing..) That's right, the EAST COAST SWING! Why? Because I'm a pack rat. I never throw anything out. And I still had the very expensive East Coast Swing dancing shoes from the last charity dance I did 6 years previous. (Each dance has it's own specific pair of shoes--and you thought you weren't going to learn anything from this blog!) So it didn't matter if I sucked at the East Coast Swing. I have the shoes. They're paid for. I'm doing that dance!
And then a couple of weeks before the charity dance, a lightning bolt out of the blue...I was laid-off...the corporation that owned my radio station decided to flip my station from classic country to electronic dance...(It's a format called "Energy." What is Energy? It's the same damn tune played over and over again by different artists...or at least it sounds like that to me).
I could've quit right there, probably should of...but I'm no quitter! I had a charity to support, I just had 5 previous weeks of dance lessons, AND, I owned East Coast Swing DANCING SHOES! Plus, I figured if something happened, there would be a headline; UNEMPLOYED classic radio jock suffers heart attack during charity dance contest...(notice, they replaced out of shape jock with unemployed!) See? I'm no dummy!
So I did the dance. And you know what? I did much better then six years ago...I got FIFTH PLACE! Seriously. And I raised money for a charity that means a whole lot to me, and really, that was the most important thing anyway. So this Monday, if you're at the unemployment office in Milwaukee, and you're looking around wondering what I look like, well, I'm the one wearing the gold dancing shoes, carrying a 5th place trophy...
I'm sorry, what did you just ask...how many dancers were in this one? Shut-up! ; )