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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

I sat down and watched Dancing with the Stars last night - it's been awhile since I've done that. When it was new, I watched every show for every season. My mom loved the show too, and we often talked about the dancers. I was in Chicago for the 3rd season premier when I got a call from my mother. She was so excited, she had just seen Emmitt Smith dance with Cheryl Burke and she was blown away. She was amazed that a football player could be so graceful. I always felt bad because she passed away before she got to see her star win the mirror ball.

I come from a dancing family. My father was an adagio dancer. He traveled the summer after high school with a troupe in order to make money for college. This is my dad Pat with his twin sister Virginia.

He would do some of the lifts with my sister and me when we were children. I always thought he was the strongest man I ever met.

My mom and her sister took dancing when they were young. The story is that my grandma enrolled them in dance so my grandpa wouldn't have enough money to go out drinking. He was a big, strong Norwegian man. Here are a couple photos of them - my mom is on the right side in both.

When I was a teen my mother started a dance studio in our neighborhood. What a fun and easy way to make money teaching dance! But I also danced professionally starting around 16. I was with a small group called The Jan Gillespie Dancers - because our boss was Jan Gillespie. Her husband was a band leader so she was connected - we did a short tour at a nightclub downtown 6 nights a week. My dear father would get up at midnight, drive downtown and make sure he was right at the top of the stairway to take me home. We also did fairs and were entertainment for large company meetings. It was fun while it lasted. I am the blonde (not my real hair) dancing next to Jan Gillespie (on my right) and Lorraine, a former Radio City Hall Rockette, on my left. The next girl was my best friend Marcia, also 16.

My younger sister danced too, but she was best known for gymnastics. In the 60's she was very good and won several first places. My favorite thing, she would do back handsprings up and down the gym floor - seemed like she could go on forever!

So it was really fun to sit and watch the dancers last night. 3 of my favorite dancers were back and I enjoyed all the stars. I was amazed at Marilou Henner who is 64 and Maureen McCormick at 60 - maybe there's still hope for me yet! My favorite was former Governor Rick Perry - not because he danced so well but because he really enjoyed what he did. Dancing, after all, is an expression of joy and I truly miss it In my life!

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    What a great post! Thanks for sharing the pix.
    1358 days ago
    Wow! Loved the story, the pics and the feeling behind it all!
    1359 days ago
    watching the dancers is so stimulating to think the dancers can take an average person and transform them into dancers with such grace and a new form creativity for the art

    1359 days ago
    1359 days ago
    Holy Moley Kathy, you were indeed the dancer! What wonderful photos and such grand memories. My dance history was the San Francisco Ballet. My sister was accepted to be in the infamous Nutcracker every year. I on the other hand was not.You see, I was big for my "age," I had bigger boobs etc. And in ballet, "petite" was the word and "petite," I was not. I always would say I was "Big Boned." So I quit ballet because I was developing faster than my peers and was so self-conscious. My younger sister of 14 months was so tiny, she was able to fit in all the customs for so many roles in the Nutcracker. It really upset me during those times, especially we were a bit competitive too.

    I think it is funny now because I am smaller than she is today and I know it pisses her of. Oh well, Karma is a bitch, eh?

    How's my little Daisy Doodle today? Is the weather comfortable for longer walks? Just heard that we will be warming up this coming next few days, so our "Indian Summer" is going to appear eventually. But Fall? Oh, the leaves are dropping and the lighting is definitely "Fallish." I can't believe September is just about half way over. This year has flown by, I think the better life is the faster it goes by…Not good at all, don't you think?
    1359 days ago
    Love it ! Maybe there is an opportunity for you somewhere !
    1359 days ago
    Dancing is so meditative.
    1359 days ago
    1359 days ago
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