Feets Don't Fail Me Now
For years it went something like this …
“KICK! And TURN! And BACK! And BEND! And … Arms loose, ladies; Guys,
keep those shoulders back. Posture, people. POSTURE! We open in two weeks! Okay,
keep it goin’ annnnd … KICK! And TURN! And BACK! And SP- … No, no, Michael.
It’s BACK and SPIN, not SPIN, KICK, BACK. No, no, no, NO! There’s no LUNGE in
this routine, Michael. Stick to the choreography. Here we go … KICK! And BACK! And
… Michael … Michael … MICHAEL! WHY ARE YOU THRUSTING LIKE THAT?
GET OUT MICHAEL. GEEEETTTTT OOOUUUUTTTTTT!”
To put it mildly, my dancing has always resembled something like a kindergartner’s
recital if all the kindergartners were blindfolded and on roller skates. I Can’t help it,
though. I was born a singer and an actor, not a dancer. I have spent my entire life
avoiding anything that had the remotest indication of movement in rhythm and because
of this behavior, it’s with no surprise that my reaction to the suggestion of a dance in any
form has always been, “… (blink) … You, um … (blink) … You want me to do what?”
I go numb. My brain reminds me of the scene above where I thrusted and lunged when
I should have kicked and spun and the teacher threw me out. I’d never been thrown out of
church before. I never will again. Because …
But wait! What’s this happening to my feet? Why are my hips twisting, my toes
tapping, and my hands assuming the splay-fingered form known as Jazz?
It’s because I have found my groove, at least I hope.
The curtain opening on The Addams Family – The Musical will not only find me
adopting an entirely different look, but there will also be another aspect of the Gomez
role that many who know me will absolutely not expect – dancing.
The opening number is heavily choreographed already, but there’s a tango at the end
that is pushing the limits of my “able to”. I'm managing it though, and frankly, I’m
starting to get a little cocky about how well I feel I’m doing. Forget how many times I hear the encouraging words of my choreographer (“Don’t worry. You’ll get it.”). The
plain fact is, I think I got it! And I can’t wait to put my new dancing shoes into play with
my everyday life.
No longer shall I hear, “Michael? Dance? Hahaha … hahahahahaha …
HAHAHAHAHAHA! No offense, but … BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!”
From now on, it’s move over Kevin Bacon, ... hold on to your jacket, John Travolta, ...
not so fast, Carlton. It’s "Michael Time" and you absolutely cannot touch this! I’m so
excited that I'm ready to burst a move at this very moment. I’m feeling sort of hot and
beginning to think perhaps I should drop it like such. I still don’t know what that last one
means exactly, but I’m sure it has nothing to do with an unsavory move involving one’s
rear end. Twerking? NO. I draw the line there, dirtbag.
I can say that you may very well see me in the potato chip aisle at the local grocer,
however, shaking my groove thang. In my next business meeting, it’s possible I could
actually stop, collaborate, and listen. My life has opened to a world of possibilities now
and I can’t wait to move to the beat of it all. Can you even stop the beat? No. No you
can’t stop the beat. I found that out the awesome way. I’m having a Jellicle ball thanks to
learning that I have what it takes to boogaloo and even slide electrically.
Whew. I had to wipe my brow a little after that. Are you tired? I’m tired … tired of
standing still! I know all my references are old school. I have intentionally been away
from the current music scene and I don’t plan to change that. I have so much to catch up
on that I probably won’t get to today’s moves until I’m ninety – a fit, in shape, ninety
year old man who still thinks he could play The Rum Tum Tugger if need be, by thunder!
So now that I’m armed with this new found ability in my theatrical arsenal, I’m
thinking of dancerly shows I’d like to tackle. I mentioned CATS earlier, but I still have
quite a road to travel before I'll be able to fit my buttocks into a leotard. Singing In The
Rain might be a possibility as well as Chicago … wait, no. The dancers in that one are
mostly ladies and I won’t be doing any cross dressing. Also … leotard. That leaves A
Chorus Line, maybe.
I know what you’re saying to yourself. You’re saying, “Slow your role, buddy. That
kind of dancing takes a lot more work and effort than you think. Years go into perfecting
the craft.” And I know you’re right. So I suppose if I must, I’ll take it a bit slower just tomake you happy. (And not make you jealous of my sweet new moves)
To start, I’ll just try to get through the current production without breaking an ankle or
throwing out my back. It is a comedy, so maybe I can play it big, yet on the lighter side
so that I don’t show up the rest of the cast. That’s what I’ll do. If you come to The
Addams Family and see me up there pretending to give it my best, but looking a little like
I have two left feet, please understand that it’s just for the sake of the show. We’re all a
team on that stage, so there's no need to show off.
Yes, that’s the thing to do. Don’t expect greatness on my part, just the appearance of a
guy in his forties who doesn’t put the word dancer in his resume.
But know this – I may be holding back as far as you can tell, but in my chest beats the
heart of a Fred Astaire, a Michael Jackson, a Gregory Hines, or a Ted Koppel. And now
that my feet are learning to be free, there’s no caging them.
And yes, I did have A LOT of coffee tonight while editing my podcast. How did you
Oh, who am I kidding? You’ll never see me on a dance floor in a freestyle tornado of
shimmying; body parts flailing willy-nilly with reckless abandon. That’s not me. But I
can say I’ll not be shying away from shows that feature dancing any longer. It’s great for
the mind, body, and spirit as long as you don’t care how you look. I’ll just have fun and
give it my best.
And if A Chorus Line ever comes around, I’ll audition.
God, I hope I get it.
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