• Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Judy Watts gets in the mood for her Tango in the upcoming Dancing with the Ark’s Stars event planned for April 2 at Pinewood Preparatory school. Go to www.dancingwiththearkstars.org to vote or for information about buying tickets.

This is what happens when you watch too much of any one reality competition show. You start thinking to yourself:
A)   That looks like fun, and
B)   I can do that
So when Marlena Myers asked me some months ago if I would consider stepping up to participate with the Dancing with the ARK’s Stars fundraiser, I immediately said, “yes.” The money would go to help fund the Alzheimer’s Respite Kare organization. She explained that each “star” would be paired with a dance instructor from Arthur Murray who would whip us into shape for the big night. Months ago, that all sounded perfectly doable.
Well, the big night is April 2.
And this is what I now know:
• I’m not a good dancer. I have arms flopping around like fish out of water on a hot dock. • My feet tend to turn in—a long-standing problem that isn’t going to be magically fixed with a few dance lessons—and that is not a good look when twirling.
• Dancing makes you sweat if you practice really hard for two hours. It also makes everything hurt.
• Dancing is a lot of fun
• The Tango (The Tango is the dance chosen for me) is a hard dance to learn. (I figure the only thing that could be more difficult would be learning one of those Riverdance routines.)
Before a few weeks ago, my formal dance lessons consisted of a couple of years of tap when I was in elementary school and square dancing in the lunchroom on rainy days that didn’t allow for playground time.
The Hubster and I can do what passes for the shag. And we once knew a little two-step back in the boot-scootin’ boogie days, but the Tango has never been on our radar. We just aren’t big-time dancers.
Because I tend to be somewhat competitive, I have attacked the Tango with gusto. I attend classes faithfully at least once a week and sometimes twice. My instructor, Dan, is an expert at the Tango. He also has patience second only to my beloved who has been long-suffering for decades instead of the few weeks that Dan the Tango Man has been dragging me around the dance floor.
Last week Tango man and I finally got our entire routine together so I videoed our practice hoping I would be inspired to fine-tune the performance. I twirled and stepped and promenaded as hard as I could. Then I watched the tape.
Where was all the twirling it felt like I was doing? Where were the steps that had seemed so intricate? It was going to take a lot more than fine-tuning to get this routine into public viewing shape. It was, in short HORRIBLE
I realized then that I needed to ham it up a bit more. And straighten my flapping arms, and keep my feet from turning in, and turn my head this way then that, and remember to “keep my frame,” and to lean back and not forward, and extend my step further back and….
So much to remember, so little time to perfect the moves. Just a week and a half.
It is likely that I will not be judged at the head of the class (that also includes “stars” Rep. Jenny Horne, Sen. Paul Campbell, Pinewood’s Quince Cody, and Skip and Kelly Williams) so I will need votes online. You can do that now and often at www.DancingWithTheArkStars.orgto get me through the evening. I want that trophy folks.
So, again tonight I am off to practice. I will twirl bigger, step farther and remember the moves. I hope.
Next week: “Finding the costume. Can it really be this hard?

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