WEST COAST SWINGMom's Moonwalkin' Again

by Joanie Fuller

My daughter will never discourage me enough to quit dancing — but she comes close! Her favorite comment is, "You and your silly dancing!" She said that continuously until I brought home a couple plaques and stopped completely when I flashed the cash. So there!!!

She caught me moonwalking in the kitchen last night. She’s quite critical, being a teenager and all. She said sarcastically, "Mother, the moonwalk is O-U-T!" I said, "For you it’s out, but for me it’s IN. Anyway, smartie, YOU try and do it!" Needless to say she couldn’t and wouldn’t. She shook her head and babbled something incoherent as she made her exit. But, I did hear her say something like, "It’s hard enough explaining West Coast Swing, now she’s moonwalking."


Actually, I also moonwalk in the elevator at work, the ladies room, and anywhere the floor is slick enough. When those shiny elevator doors close and I’m alone, it’s me and JACKO for about two minutes.

I learned the moonwalk at Starlight Studio in San Diego (Michael Kiehm's hangout). Couldn’t get it then, but I’ve been practicing since (that was about three years ago). At a workshop in Sacramento last year, as the instructor was busy working with the "guys," I was struggling with my moonwalk and still wondering why I couldn’t get it. The sweet DJ, Nancy Lara, came running over and explained that I must take a longer stride backwards and, `voila’, there it was! Look out Jacko, here I come!

Now I need to learn to incorporate it into my dancing. It’s kind of difficult to position yourself into a moonwalk, but it’s a show stopper if you can get it. Love those show-stopping moves. I’m saving them for my really big debut. Hope my health lasts that long!

You know, it’s not the MOONWALK itself, it’s the challenge of doing something on your own and when the light bulb pops on, it’s so rewarding. I stay with stuff until I get it. Obviously, three years is a long time, but I just kept it in my subconscious and pulled it out every time I wanted to work on it. There are so many other difficult steps that are also challenging, and I want to learn them all. Even if I NEVER use ‘em, I’m certainly great entertainment at a party, sans the lampshade.

Let this be a testimonial! Never give up! There’s a secret to all that difficult stuff you see out there. Stay with it! The biggest secret is persistence. You take a bullheaded person like me and add a generous portion of challenge, and you’ve got yourself one heck of a fight. I know this dance is difficult, but the rewards are many and varied.

My biggest reward is when someone says, "you’re a fun dancer!" I like that comment best of all, especially when I didn’t even have to show them my moonwalk! The other reward is when I’ve struggled with something for a while and someone politely says, "Try it this way!" AND THERE IT IS. That person has earned my respect, they’ve made a friend forever!

Keep the faith!