The Dancer Legs Story

IMG_0417“She has dancer legs,” said one of the other tap student moms to my mother after seeing me in my first, tap-dance recital. I was eight years old.

 

I still have dancer legs.

Because I kept dancing through ballet lessons (where my teacher struck my precious, young limbs when I made a mistake), into my beloved, after school tap dance lessons where my legs learned how to translate rhythm, into my teens where the black girls taught me more rhythm through line dances to Motown in the lunchroom annex, into college as a dance major at University of Michigan, to a student at RDT (Repertory Dance Theatre) of SLC, Utah, into post degree concerts and collaborations, into yoga classes where my yoga teacher referred to my legs as good, strong, German-stock pins, to dance teaching gigs, to moving to New York City and continuing my dance study and performance schedule and beyond…

 

Mine are not ballet dancer legs. They are modern dancer legs.

 

My dancer legs only got better. Even after I was not performing on any regular basis, and turned to hiking then running, I still had my dancer legs.  I  always made sure I had good form no matter what type of exercise I was doing.

 

Even after I had kids and went through an intense aerobic phase. I had the legs of a dancer–if only more muscular and bulky. It was an interesting phase even, if afterwards I realized I didn’t like that look so much and began to undo the bulkiness to get back to my long, limber dancer legs.

 

Dancer legs. They are one of my best features.

 

Yes, my legs are strong. They are also long–in proportion to the rest of my body–even though I am only 5 feet, 2 inches tall.

 

I never thought my legs were long enough, though, to be a Broadway dancer. I always chickened out of going to auditions for Broadway gigs. The musical, A Chorus Line changed all that with its varying sizes and body shapes of dancers in that production. But not for me.

 

Yet,  I eventually did make it to Broadway! When my former dance partner had his 20th Anniversary company concert at The Duke on 42nd Street, NYC, I got to be on the bill. Hey Ma! Look at me now! She was so proud. So was my dad. My legs took me there.

 

My legs take me everywhere. Frankly, sometimes I don’t know what I’d do without them. Even if I lost them, I’d still feel them–all the way to my toes. And, I’m lucky that I never had any serious dance-related injury. Grateful for that. Never a knee or hip replacement either.

 

I’ve been very blessed with these strong, German-stock legs.

 

I love them.

 

There, I said it! I love my legs!

 

They’ve been very, very good to me. They keep me going, literally…one-step-in-front-of-the-other.

 

I plan on them keeping me going for a long, long time.

 

So, then this is a letter of gratitude to you, beautiful, dancer legs. May you live long and stay strong with me–as long as we both shall live. You’ve never failed me, no matter where we’ve gone. Even as  you’ve traveled across countries with me, across oceans, walked me through heartbreak and onto grand stages. You’ve taken me places other people said we would never be able to go. But you, my sturdy legs knew otherwise.

 

Here’s my promise to you.

  • I pledge that I will take better and better care of you the older and older I get.
  • I will stretch more, do more yoga-morning and night, see my chiropractor to adjust me so that you continue to work right, slather you with luxurious, plant-based moisturizers, protect you from the sun (well maybe just  a little color)  and keep you–in general–in good, no great! working order.

And, for your part, just keep doing what you do best, being my good, dancer legs.

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jean


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