I created my first life list back in high school as a sort of teenage rebellion. Like, you guys, my parents never let me do anything fun!
I guess I totally showed them when I started crossing off “Go to college” and “Visit a zoo.”
My life list has evolved over the years but taking tap dance lessons again was one of the original teen goals.
I fell in love with tap dancing as a child, watching Savion Glover on “Sesame Street.” After years of stomping around the house, my mom finally gave in and bought me a “Teach Yourself Tap Dancing” kit for Christmas when I was 10.
I applied the stick-on taps to my worn out pink-and-white LA Gear high-tops, flipped over the large square of plywood that I’d used to make an atom model for a school project and spent the next six months obsessively practicing my flaps, shuffles and buffaloes.
Mom signed me up for dance camp that summer and tap lessons in the fall, which continued for three blissful years until she broke the news that she couldn’t afford it anymore.
I cried for weeks.
I studied jazz and various social dances off and on through high school and college but my heart remained with tap.
My work schedule and budget finally aligned in 2008, when I found a tap dancing class for adults at the Asheville Contemporary Dance Theatre. I was one of several students when the class started that fall, but by spring, I was the only one left.
So I got to dance a duet with one of the studio owners when they did a tribute to La Lupe in April. I shared the stage with a drag queen, an all-female drumming group and a modern dance team that stripped to their underwear as part of their performance.
I wore a shimmery gold dress that made me feel like Tina Turner. My mom came to the show and we celebrated with chocolate afterward.
My teenage self would have been mortified. And secretly ecstatic.
It. Was. Awesome.
Skip to the 1:30 mark to see a bit of my performance.