My parents got divorced when I was eight. On visitation weekends, my Dad and I started watching anime together. My Mom (who hates anime) decided that she and I should have something special to watch as well. She picked old musicals—who knows why? I don’t remember it, but she says the first movie musical we watched together was Damn Yankees, during a year when the Yankees were in the World Series.
What I do remember is Summer Stock. For real, I remember. When I saw Gene Kelly’s “newspaper dance,” I knew I had to do that. It was the most beautiful and most captivating thing I’d ever seen, and it seemed to express me somehow.
The next movie we saw was Singin’ in the Rain, and I stood in front of the screen, age 9, trying to work out the steps. Mom saw me doing it and asked if I wanted dance lessons. The rest is history.
If by history I mean, “I dance and no one has ever heard of me and I also have a day job.” That kind of history.
Things I didn’t know when I started dancing: That I’d have to cross-train. That abs can save ankles. That Mom would hate tap-scuffs on the kitchen floor. That tap shoes cost a fortune. That lifting a girl is not as easy as it looks in the movies. Other things I didn’t know: That I’d develop the ability to do a rim-shot with my feet. That I could shut off all the noise in my brain by dancing. That nothing feels as good. That if I stand in the back of the class I can look at a whole bunch of gorgeous girls in dance togs. That my finest moment in high school would involve dance.