Growing Up with Dancing Dreams

by Lynne R. Dorfman

When I was looking for something to write about today, I returned to my neighborhood map for an idea.  Neighborhood maps can be maps of your street, your backyard, a caping site, or even slice-of-life2a school playground. It’s great to remember to do these things when creating one:

  • use color (colored pencils as best).
  • include important places.
  • be neat and as accurate as you can recall.
  • include labels of the places.
  • include possible phrases to capture a writing idea. For example, next to the label my bedroom might be “I break bed jumping on it!”
  • create several maps – a vacation spot, your backyard, grandparents’ house, inside of your house, etc..

neighborhood map

Here’s a memory from my map:

The Jewish Community Center was my home away from home during the time I attended Edmonds Elementary School in East Mt. Airy, a section of Philadelphia. It conveniently nestled on the corner of Mt. Pleasant and Thouron Avenues, directly across from my elementary school. It was about five blocks from my row home on Durham Street, so I could walk to and from Saturday morning services by myself. I also walked to many afternoon events that took place right after school.

My mom signed me up for everything. Really – I am not exaggerating!  I went to Hebrew school classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Services were Friday evenings or Saturday mornings. I preferred Friday evenings because my only choice made without my mother (and much to her dismay) was taking horseback riding lessons. Monday was my after-school Brownie (then later Girl Scouts) meeting. Wednesday was dance class with Miss Sharon.

Miss Sharon was amazing. She had platinum blond hair that flipped up at the end as it seemed to curl naturally away from her shoulders. She wore a silver or sometimes white sequins bodysuit and a matching skirt that flared outward whenever she twirled. Best of all, the incredible silver tap shoes with thick heels that made her six inches taller rang out a rhythm of taps that all of us admired.  She demonstrated every move and could even do all the acrobatics she asked us to do – handstands, headstands, cartwheels, walkovers, and even splits!

We worked through a series of lessons including tap, ballet, and jazz. I was pretty decent until we got to the mats. My acrobatic abilities were limited and I often felt clumsy, but through her encouraging words, I kept improving. My balance with bar work while learning to balance on my toes while wearing pale pink ballet shoes also improved. I started to dream about becoming a dancer and finding a job on Broadway or with a dancing company that traveled across the country to do performances like “The Nutcracker,”  “Giselle,” and “Cinderella.

By the time I had reached fifth grade, I started to look forward to my dance classes, even though horseback riding lessons caused a conflict with the development of leg muscles, leading to painful leg cramping. Standing and dancing in ballet shoes lengthens the muscles running down the front of your legs and shortens the muscles running down the back of your legs. Riding English style does the exact opposite because you place the ball of your foot in the stirrup and drive your heels down for balance.

Fifth-grade year ended my dance lessons, but I loved dancing at parties and later at weddings. Unfortunately, my husband does not like to dance. I have suggested ballroom dancing, the Mambo, the Merengue, Rumba, Cha-Cha, Samba, Bolero, Tango, Foxtrot, and Waltz – all my suggestions are met with raised eyebrows or a most emphatic “NO!” – but in my dreams I can see us dancing the Swing like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, all eyes focused on the two of us as we float across the dance floor.  

I am participating in #SOL2020. Thanks to twowritingteachers for creating this space for writers to meet. It is sometimes challenging to write every day, but the effort is well worth it. I am always amazed that I wrote every day for 31 days and found new things to write about. Even more, I am amazed at the writing of the community – such a great way to be inspired!

 

7 thoughts on “Growing Up with Dancing Dreams

  1. I did not know this about you, Lynne. I think you and Ralph would look great out on a dance floor (this spoken by someone who does not dance). Glad you are back for this year’s challenge.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this map and how it inspired such vivid memories. My husband doesn’t love to dance either and with over 15″ height difference we were never going to look like Fred and Ginger! LOL. So happy to be reading your slices again, my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Love neighborhood maps! I took dance lessons when I was young. I love your description of Miss Sharon. I stopped lessons in fourth grade. Not because of horseback riding, but took on the clarinet! Always look forward to reading your slices, Lynne! You’re my biggest writing mentor!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank your for opening another door to your wonderful childhood by way of your neighborhood map. It’s truly one of my favorite ways to help young and young at heart writers find so many stories. I loved reading this and look forward to many more stories.

    Liked by 1 person

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