I was calm but excited pulling up to Millennium Dance Complex for my first tap class. I didn’t know what to expect. Most of the dancers who took lessons here were professionals, and deep down I figured I would stick out like a sore thumb, but I was determined anyway to take that tap class I had been thinking about for the past two weeks. I felt like a kid signing in with my tap shoes securely under my arm, my water bottle in my hand, and my money in my pocket. I looked just like the other dancers signing in. The only difference is I was fifty or sixty years older than the rest of them and I was half an hour early. I guess I read the schedule wrong.
The reason I had a little angst going on is because years ago (about 30) I thought I was such a cool tap dancer even though I hadn’t tapped in years. I took a local intermediate tap class and was asked very politely by the teacher to leave halfway through because I was slowing things up. This very kind, tall, good looking guy felt my embarrassment and could see I was about to cry. He took me to the side and said, “I can see that you can tap, you’re really very talented. It’s just hard to get some of these combinations and the back flaps just take practice. Don’t give up, and don’t let him make you feel inadequate. Keep dancing.” I never forgot how kind Jeff Goldblum was to me.
I took a semester of tap at Valley College two years ago. I couldn’t seem to get in the groove with this class because the teacher kept breaking down the steps, and even though it moved slowly I didn’t seem to get the choreography in that class. Anyway, the room was full and not with all kids either. There were some guys in their forties, but I was definitely the oldest. The teacher was great. The class was great and fast. Not only did I keep up with everyone, I learned something amazingly exciting. Getting the choreography was so much easier for me this time because HE hardly broke down steps. He moved from step to step quickly and made us repeat his sounds, and I heard them! I have a natural rhythm, and it came alive in that class. I loved it, and I can’t wait to go back.