5, 6, 7, 8, Day 18

Learning to walk, learning to dance, learning to bogey down baby!  Debbie was there for it all. She sat through endless hours of me practicing my beginning ballet, prancing around the house in tutu’s and tap shoes. I can keenly recall dancing in our front entry hallway in our Anchorage house. It had 4 sliding mirrors. It was perfect for the emerging diva extraordinaire, moi!

One of my fondest moments in our home involved walking into a giant Passover seder with my child’s accordion strapped around my back, and serenading folks with song and dance. Only the uninhibited folks. That was me!

Flash forward to the most awkward years of my life and the years of settling into oneself for my sister. I was 15, shy, and a desperate fashionista who chose to wear overalls…yes overalls, why? I have no idea. Apparently I thought overall shorts were cool especially in the hot and humid August air of 2000 in Portland, Oregon. My sister had invited me to a swing dance class at, The Crystal Ballroom.

Two amazing things transpired that evening:

  1. I learned that I really loved to dance, but needed confidence.
  2. I saw my husband for the first time, unknowingly, I thought he was the cutest guy with the best moves. Little did I know that it would be a mere 4 years later before we’d meet again.

My sister has amazing groove if you didn’t already know this. She and her husband Doug met while at a Salsa club. They fell in love dancing and have been partners ever since. One of my favorite memories of the two of them was their swing dance at their wedding. It was ABSOLUTELY amazing and beautiful. They were made for each other. I loved watching them glide, smile, and spin around the dance floor.

Back to the swing dance lesson: Debbie was so patient. She stayed through the whole hour class before the “real” swing dancers came to get down and groovy. I keenly recall the tall gangly guy who I danced with for about 15 minutes of the lesson session. He later sauntered over during the band portion with all the amazing dancers hopping about the floor. I smiled shyly and agreed to go out on the floor and work on the few moves we learned. Debbie encouraged me with a smile and I stepped onto the floor. Little did I know that my attire would get in the way of my movement. Tall gangly guy decided it’d be fun to spin me and rotate me with the other hand. However, he didn’t plan for an overall strap to hinder his spin ideals. Well, needless to say, we got quite tangled into one of the most precarious situations I’ve ever encountered. I squirmed, removed myself from his grasp, and slid back to my spot on the side lines beet red and panting. I happily tapped my toes and watched Debbie get asked to dance again and again.

Then, someone caught my eye. A flash of blue eyes and wide smile.  A white wife-beater tank top, suspenders, and a classy fedora just slightly tilted forward. “Man he’s cute,” I thought to myself. Debbie had just spun back over to me and caught my gaze. “Ohhhhhhh they’re just show off’s Rachel.” “They’re so good….” “Yeah, they’re a bit cocky, and good that’s true,” she replied.

Cut to a scene change to the second term of college for me.  There, standing before me and Lincoln Hall 75 was him. Show-off man, Andy. Now, my hubby. I am proud to call him my swing dancing king.

You see, Debbie first helped me to get into dance. She later introduced me to zumba which helped transform my work out routines. I am eternally grateful to her for sharing this passion with me. I can’t wait to zumba with you again Debbie! I love you, and I hope you shake or shimmy a bit today. Just a few steps will lighten your mood.

Be spark-lar-ific! I love you big sis!

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