Everyone’s talking about Patrick Swayze. Not that I mind…I’ve been watching clips of Dirty Dancing and reruns of “She’s Like the Wind” over the last couple of weeks. The man had amazing talent – he sang, danced, acted and was an athlete in school. Dirty Dancing isn’t particularly a favourite of mine, but this time round I really paid attention to Swayze’s moves. Smooth and graceful – not like me, of course.
My own dancing career lasted exactly an hour. Ok, it wasn’t even a career – it was a lesson in ballroom dancing, rock and roll to be precise. My Aussie friend, a teacher on a study break, picked me up one Sunday afternoon and drove us to the Manning Bowling Club. For AU$ 12, I would learn to go ‘one-two-three-four’, dancing round a room full of men who were “old enough to be your grandpa”, according to my friend. This wasn’t such a bad idea. I’d never danced before – how terrible could it be to embarrass myself in front of men twice my age?
I won’t go into the details, as I can probably summarize my problems in two sentences. I can’t whirl. I can’t twirl. As I contemplated this rather disappointing situation, I was passed from partner to partner until the dance instructor himself decided to take a hand. “You’re spinning on the wrong foot, Deep-tea,” he roared, in his best drill-sergeant voice. “Right foot, not the left.” I’m left-handed, and probably left-footed as well. A molly duker – as the Aussies put it.
I didn’t step on anyone’s toes, and perhaps this little victory went to my head. I one-two-three-foured my way around the dance floor to the likes of Bill Haley. My new found rhythm was short-lived though. Just as I triumphantly finished my whirl-stumble-twirl, my south paw suddenly caught the chin of one my more elderly partners. I’ll bet that’s never happened to him before – another tale to tell the grandchildren, no doubt, the Indian girl who finished her dances by landing a punch. At least I didn’t finish off my fellow dancers!
I’ve learned three things from my dance lesson. I’m not Patrick Swayze – or even Jennifer Gray. I’m not auditioning for So You Think You Can Dance anytime soon. I probably should take up boxing.