WEST COAST SWINGMake Me A Star!

by Joanie Fuller

What’s worse than NOT having a dance partner? Having one that does dance, but not West Coast! Ugh! In the few years that I’ve tried to get this dance down I’ve encountered many obstacles and the biggest one is 220 pounds, and sitting on the living room couch. It’s tough not having a partner to practice with at my whim. WC is very technical - it’s a dance that will allow creativity, but something human needs to be attached to the other side of my creativity. I need a person (preferably a hunk), attached to an arm, attached to a hand to help me glide ever so gently to the other side of the track and back. I’m serious about dancing and when I realized I could not practice with the "channel surfer" himself, I tried door knobs, dining room chairs, and then I discovered the fridge. IT was perfect! I practice every night in the kitchen and when I get aerobically challenged I pull open door #1 and take pleasure in a cool blast.

As my dancing progressed, I needed to get a visual on my technique. I went to K-Mart and bought the cheapest mirror I could find and stood it up against the kitchen wall. I placed my head phones in my ears and away I went. As I gyrated to and fro I caught a glimpse of the husband. He was glaring at this sweaty figure in the kitchen, movin’ and a groovin’ to Bonnie Raitt blasting through those headphones and hanging onto what appears to be a majestically "cool" partner...partner? Well, it’s all I had! As I took a good look at myself in the mirror (just to make sure that I was seeing what HE was seeing), I didn’t think I looked at all odd in my extra-large T-shirt, silver dance shoes, and white sox. What was so peculiar about that? Hubby rolled his eyes, mumbled something incoherent, and went back to "veg" in front of the TV.

I’ve been working and working on this WC obsession, trying to figure out what makes those great dancers look so great. Convinced that I can do this, I realized I just needed to be totally focused. The portable mirror was the best idea of all. The vision does not lie! My next plan is to place a video recorder on the kitchen counter and "roll ‘em." Pretty soon there won’t be any room for cooking OR those blasted dishes! My fantasy is to rip the roof off the house, gut it, remove all traces of carpeting, and work with those lovely hard wood floors. Then build a second story totally devoted to dancing. Reality, however, always gets in the way of my fantasies.

Dancing is the first thing I think about at bedtime and the first thing when I wake—along with my aching feet and various joint pains. I’m bound to improve some day! I’m constantly in a dancing mode. Even as I stand at the ATM, I practice that perfect posture. As I walk to the car, I practice keeping my thighs together and passing my ankles so closely together that I swish like a 90-pound Paris ramp model. Makes me crave a SlimFast...Chocolate Royale, of course, along with a burger and fries. Oink!

While I’m at work, I wander down the hallway practicing my contra movement, sucking everything in and trying not to think about what’s for lunch. Right shoulder back, right foot forward. Push off, push off! Propel! Look out Cindy Crawford - here I come! I practice moving my center back first - it moves on "&," my right foot releases on "a," and then the foot and the CPB land on "one." Remember, Cindy, the ramp isn’t very long, so shorten those steps! Not too difficult, right? Go ahead try it, I dare ya! Now if I can only apply this while dancing. Certainly not in the kitchen with the fridge - need the "hunk" to guide me across the track and help me place it all into "muscle memory." Oh sure, muscle memory. There’s less of that as we age.

I can practice many things at home with my partner "the fridge." Basically, it’s my own stuff: resistance, compression, posture, pulsing. When my moves don’t work, I never feel the urge to call "him" a jerk. He has his limitations, he can’t move down the track, but there’s still plenty of creativity to work with at my own end. I don’t have to coax him into doing a "freeze!" He knows this term well! And, the only vegging he does is in the crisper! So, if you’re worried about not having a partner, try you GE or Amana. It works for me. Every night he quietly cooperates and hums along with Bonnie & me! Oooo Baby, you’re "A-mana" my dreams! "Gee-E", make me a STAR!

HGH