terpsichorean adj. of or relating to dance
I chose this particular word for two reasons, one being that I don’t believe that I have written about an adjective in all of my nearly 60 posts. The other reason being that when I was in high school at the venerable “castle on the hill” in Teaneck, NJ, there was a very talented troupe of dancers called the Terpsichoreans, or “Terpsies” and I really enjoyed watching them – and the outstanding choir my high school had – on the cable access channel when I was a teen. I didn’t have much of a life back then and for some reason my mother and I would watch the various broadcasts of my local high school’s performances as a bonding ritual. So you already know I’m a little weird…moving on.
Dance has been ever present in my life and with the exception of a year or two of ballet dabbling because I begged, I have no formal training. I love ballet in particular. My theory is that I have a latent, girlie side of my personality that simply yearns to be set free. Unfortunately, my parents didn’t recognize it and I ended being a runner / soccer player for most of my life, never having the opportunity to explore the wonder and femininity of ballet.
…but it did not stop me from manifesting my admiration of all things terpsichorean in other ways…
I was thinking about this for awhile on my walk home from the train today and dance has followed me throughout my life in perverse ways. For example, when I was around 12 or 13, I remember quite distinctly choreographing a production of the Nutcracker at the after school program I was in. I was, of course, the principal dancer and had enlisted a bunch of Kindergarteners to dance with me. I specifically remember finding a Tsaichovsky record and playing it on the standard, Catholic school record player (the box kind with hinges that smelled like old books and buzzed with tubes) and making up all of the dances for each of the tracks. I chose myself to dance the principal role of the Sugar Plum Fairy because that was my most favorite part of the music. I’ve come back to think about the fact that I did this when I was a pre teen a few times a year and it makes me cringe a little. I think I must have been suffering some sort of mental strife in my life at that point. Some teens turn to drugs or partying in their awkward stage. I turned to a sort of buffoon choreography…I’m not sure what this says about me as a person. At least I grew out of it.
I was lucky enough in my early years to have friends who were Indian and learned all about Indian dance. I remember fondly the days of practicing the different steps and moves with one friend in her living room. We also watched a ton of Bollywood, which I still adore to this day. I remember showing it to my dad on yet another cable access channel on Sunday mornings and it quickly became a tradition for us to watch it each week.
Later, when I was a senior in high school, instead of going to the prom I went to a performance of Romeo and Juliet at ABT in Lincoln Center with a dear friend and genuinely trained and talented ballet dancer. I remember watching Julie Kent in the role and being mesmerized by the beauty of what she could do. I was damn proud of myself for getting some culture instead of slogging down nip bottles of Bacardi in the bathroom of some Marriott in a satin dress.
My college years are a menagerie of bad dance experiences at cheesy Rhode Island clubs that would make the Jersey Shore hide in shame. There is a reason why Pauly D., a native Johnston, Rhode Islander – was included on that program. One particular club I frequented quite often during my college days was known as Oxygen. It’s logo was a green tank with Oxygen written in neon. The club had three rooms – R&B, Top 40 and Techno. It was dark, dirty and as a white bread Providence College girl, you needed to beware of the sketchy Johnson and Wales boys. My roomates and I, in true college tradition, would put on our tightest fitting clothing, slather on a good layer of slutty makeup and head off to this place every weekend – or Wednesday – and dance. We’d start off in a circle with each other so we could warn other friend of impeding male sketchiness. We had a hand signal so we could tell if we needed to relocate or reorganize to protect each other from unwanted “grinding” attempts. Ahh, those college days.
My post college adult years have included forays into adult ballet classes once or twice, a few more memorable club visits in European countries, and many, many evenings of watching ballet and dance documentaries secretly while my husband is busy doing yard work or traveling for work. The latest manifestation of dance in my life is through my son, who will gladly bop away on command – with or without music. Maybe some day he and I will get my husband over his fear of lithe men in cod pieces and we will all go to a night of ballet together as a family…a girl can dream.