Friday, April 29, 2011

Gotta dance?

I have never been one of those girls who has “the moves” when it comes to dancing. Don’t get me wrong, take me out dancing and I will follow your lead and look like I know what I’m doing. Or let’s go clubbing and I will enthusiastically dance my butt off. But try and teach me an eight-count routine that you want to show me twice and then expect me to do it on the spot for you? Prepare to be disappointed.

I think you either have that chip in your brain that can process that type of information or you don’t. It’s kind of like math. Or computers.

Speaking of dancing, I love the movie Showgirls starring Miss Elizabeth Berkley. My friend John and I watched the movie over and over again in college and decided that Showgirls is about the following:

• Driving really fast
• Eating really fast
• Having sex in a pool really fast

Oh, and dancing, Showgirls is about dancing.

I love the scenes where our heroine, Nomi Malone played by Miss Berkley, is learning new routines. When they count off the “five-six-seven-eight”, she watches once, and then pops right into the lineup and performs it like she has been doing it her entire life. I want that chip. Not the topless showgirl chip, (well sometimes I want that chip too) but the ability to get a dance routine down pat so quickly.

In the tenth grade my best friend Susanne and I decided to try out for our high school dance team. We were the Gaither Cowboys and the dance team was called “The Starettes”. They wore little cowgirl dresses with more fringe than French drapes, topped off with a big white ten-gallon cowgirl hat.

Now I never had any interest in trying out to be a cheerleader, I knew that was WAY out of my league. But a Starette? Something in me told me there was a remote chance that maybe, just maybe, I could do that.

That was until I got to the audition.

My friend Susanne was way more coordinated than I was and overall a better dancer. She was tall and slender and I was short and squat. Her movements were fluid and pretty, while mine were more Showgirls-y - angry, hard and choppy.

We had to learn three routines. First, a baton routine which I must have messed up so badly that I have totally blocked it from my memory. Next, a flag routine, which I remember very vividly since the music they used was “Bizarre Love Traingle” by New Order which was totally awesome. I loved twirling that flag above my head, totally out of sync from everybody else. And lastly, the dance routine.

I was mortified. We went in groups of three and it was just like in Showgirls but on less of a stripper level. The girls who were already Starettes taught us the routine, and at this point they seemed like untouchable goddesses to me.

I knew I was dead meat. I couldn’t get beyond the ‘five’ in the five-six-seven-eight. We were sent into the hall to practice it before coming into the gymnasium to perform. I thought if I just smiled and showed some personality I might make it through alright. I have a distinct memory of the other two girls doing a grapevine move to the left while I went to the right, and then I was toast. I continued to smile, sweating and praying it would all be over soon. I was relieved when it was all over, and knew that for me, it was literally over.

I watched Susanne’s group from the sidelines and cheered her on. She rocked, and I was thrilled that one of us might get something out of this. We had agreed that afterwards we were going to Wags Restaurant to get milkshakes, so at this point I was just hoping for things to hurry along so we could get the hell out of there.

When it was time for the results, we all gathered around the coach who spoke into a microphone and told us all how wonderful we had done (lie). We had all been assigned a number, and she started calling them out in order as to who had made the team. Not surprisingly, she passed right by whatever my number was. I was ok with it, but at the same time I wasn’t, thinking there was this teeny-tiny glimmer of hope that maybe the sparkle in my eye had gotten me by. Nope. Then something surprising happened - Susanne’s number got passed by too. She started to cry and I felt awful. If I didn’t make it, I really wanted her to make it. I knew she was REALLY upset when she said she was too sad to go get milkshakes. I was really upset too, both about the milkshakes and that she wasn’t a Starette.

I tried to talk myself into the fact that I really didn’t want to be a stupid Starette anyway. How dumb. Although...if the coach had called my number it would have been the most exciting thing in the world.

These days I’ll stick to mimicking Nomi in her big Showgirls number and call it good. And I will also stick to drinking milkshakes, dance audition or no dance audition.

ONE (not so) singular sensation.


  1. I crack up looking at this picture- everyone is in denim and skirts- at a dance tryout! Maybe you all could have done better had you been able to move:o)