Sunday, March 4, 2018

When the Heart Says 'Yes', and the Body Says 'No'

Our Steps Ahead Tap Troupe on Stage
in "Dames of the Dance 10 - Legacy"
My friend Fayge and I have a nightmare. We talk about it all the time. The nightmare is: no longer being able to tap dance. Yes, it’s true. We’re 62 and 64 and we tap dance. Actually, we live for tap dancing.
Fayge and I on stage in DAMES 1, more than 10 years ago.
We both began tapping ten years ago (really 11). I was just past 50 and she a drop older. Who begins tapping at 50? That’s when tap dancers are retiring. But my doctor told me that I had osteoporosis and dancing would be good for me. So, Ginger Rogers just had to move aside. Two minutes ago, I called Fayge to ask why she started tap dancing. Her answer was simple, “Because you did.”
Wow, I never knew that. Mwa, Fayge, love you!
Well, thanks to our patient talented teacher/ choreographer Judy Kizer, we learned amazing steps and have gotten better and more proficient year by year. We’ve also gotten older. How come no one else in our troupe has aged? Really!
We come to rehearsal with pains in our knees or toes. Fayge has sciatica. I have arthritis. But we keep tapping. And as long as our troupe will have us, we’ll try to keep up.
Our tap troupe, our family, led by choreographer Judy Kizer
Our tap troupe is our family. I think they’re keeping us young to some extent. We feel better when the dozen of us are standing up together. Fayge and I want to succeed because of them. We want to try harder. And when all that fails, Fayge says she smiles, and that’s all that anyone cares about.
By all accounts, dancing is supposed to reduce your blood pressure. That might well be true. I hope it’s strengthening my bones, like my doctor promised. It’s thought to keep your brain sharp, prevent Alzheimer’s and dementia. I hope that’s correct, but when we’re learning a step, I always worry, “Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, I don’t know what’s next!! Help help help.” B”H, somehow when we perform, all the steps and formations come to me (and if they don’t, some dancer that I love pushes or pulls me to the right place).


I am a tapper. Tap dancing is what I do. It’s part of my identity. My tap bag is always ready. When I pick it up and rush off to rehearsal, I can’t help but hold back the smile I feel taking over my face. I can’t wait to see my dancing pals. I can’t wait for our group hug. I can’t wait to praise each one for the amazing way she executed a step.
Last year, I injured my knee. I could hardly stand. I lamented to my husband, “Maybe I should quit. What good is a dancer who can’t stand up?” “Never quit,” he said. “Always dance. Never quit.” I actually listened to him, and although I could only stand for ten minutes of our 60-minute class, I kept going. B”H, my knee healed. I’m still making up from a year of injury, but I persevere.
Fayge keeps going too. She kvetches and I krich, but we do it on the dance floor.
Last week, we completed a fabulastic season of dance with the production “Dames of the Dance 10 – Legacy.” The dances were more than spectacular. The dancers more than gorgeous. We even received praise from respected columnist Barbara Sofer:
Fayge and I on stage in this year's DAMES.
We danced with uber-talented teenagers, with magnificent ballerinas, sexy belly dancers, exotic Bollywood dancers, energetic hip hoppers. They were all marvelous and duly praised. And what got surprise acclaim by Barbara Sofer and our audience, as well? Our dancing grandmas!
Maybe our grannies gave audience members hope that quality of life, creativity, friendship, fun and achievement continue after 60. Maybe we were just funny. Whatever the reason, we were dancing!
So, when the heart says 'yes', do everything possible for as long as you can to make the body say 'yes' too.
 [Thank you to Rebecca Kowalsky,, for the photos.]

1 comment:

  1. That is the basic issue/problem I blogged about yesterday. A Jewish Grandmother : Oy, Nobody's Immune. I was heartbroken when I had to cancel my audition. Thank the Good and Gracious Lord, I am feeling better, though I'm terrified of totally overdoing it and causing irreparable damage. I'm much closer to the "big 7" than you are, but when the right music is on I'm more like 17. Gd willing we will dance together and on stage or at least at a big simcha.


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