WEST COAST SWINGDancer's Triple-Step Program

by Joanie Fuller

Ya put your right foot in, ya put your right foot out. Simple as it may sound, this is where it starts. First a little hokey pokey, then a little tap, a smidgen of ballet, and it snowballs into a lifelong addiction. Will it ever end? Do I need help? Those slap steps were forerunners to an addiction which has run the gamut of step-ball-change to anchors-in-place and have been the catalysts that have caused offenses such as pilfering the household grocery funds and hoarding a stash of cash in the underwear drawer for future dance events.

Temptation comes in all shapes and sizes. Dance shoes, dance clothes, dance conventions, with and without competition, they’re all part of the gig. I try to put it all into perspective, but now and again I slip into the mania that has created the monster I am today. There’s a support group for everything these days. Help me Rhonda! I need a dancer’s prayer? Let us bow our heads.

Joanie’s Prayer: God, grant me the credit to pay for the dance events I cannot afford, the courage to limit myself to the ones I can, and the wisdom to stash money away to make up the difference.

Addiction has, of late, been categorized as an illness. Oh, goodie, I have an excuse for a couple of ‘em! Pass the chocolate and let’s give Bonnie "somethin’ to talk about." Sing somethin’ bul-loozey, mamma, for the sake of powerlessness and puh-leeze, turn up the volume. Well, phooey, I need to find inner peace, don’t I? Actually, there’s nothing more peaceful than a gooey chocolate ice cream sundae after a 3-day dance weekend.

I can see it now: "Will the meeting please come to order!" "Hi, I’m Joanie, and I am a chocolate swigging dance-aholic, a disease inherited from the genes of my ancestors passed on to me through DNA." Do you sneak into the kitchen late at night to practice your triple step and to inhale Chocolate Ovaltine off of a spoon? Do you guzzle chocolate syrup straight from the can when no one is watching while practicing your ronde in front of the fridge? For our next meeting, bring your dance shoes, and a can of Hershey’s syrup&ldots;we’ll lick this thing, if it takes forevah! But, we’ll do it with style.

Speaking of style, after watching video tapes of the new up-and-coming styles none of which I can emulate, I decided that I enjoyed Sharlot Bott’s style the most. It is the one with a classic look that one never tires of watching. You can get complacent with her usual stunning performance on the dance floor, but just as you do, look out, all of a sudden, POW, she throws in something so COOL that everyone scrambles to try and figure out. By the time they do, here comes another.

Last weekend, while coming down off my chocolate high, I decided to watch Bott on video over and over hoping her style would seep into my pores. Perhaps someone will invent a salve or cream? Pott de Bott—sounds good. Could I ever? Is it possible? Would it be possible to catch just one cool move and have it absorb into my psyche before I nod off to sleep, as they say "subliminally" before my re-winder goes out? A little Bott and then a nap&ldots;voila&ldots;I can see myself now, waking from a deep sleep to my head whipping uncontrollably, my hair covering my face and then ending quickly with a sudden, yet elegant, pose. And of course, the classic pout&ldots;whew&ldots;someone call an exorcist--am I awake?!

After much soul searching I have realized that the dancer of my dreams is not the dancer I’m becoming. I’ve changed my perspective a little and decided after six years of creating a fantasy of stardom – this is the best it’s gonna get. The writing’s on the wall, right near the call back sheets I’m seldom on.

Yet, I’m compelled in my addiction, to continue to dream. For who am I anyway, but just another bug on the windshield of life trying hard to avoid the wipers. If I ever develop talent enough to become a copy-cat dancer I would copy Sharlot and then I’d buy the biggest trophy I can find to bring my obsession to fruition.

To help me through all of this, Lord, and at the risk of sounding too greedy, please grant me mo’ money, mo’ chocolate, mo’ video tapes, mo’ dance shoes, and please make one mo’ Wayne to share.

And puh-leeze, instead of the usual "One day at a time," give me at least three as in Friday through Sunday, with a 3-day-ticket, airfare, and something gooey to snack on. Ah, I feel bettah already.