Susie and I would like to thank the tens of people (I optimistically put the “s” on ten) that read our previous article (located https://4q21.americandancer.org/chrisandsuzie/). We have been asked to convey a few more tales from our journey.
Invigilator/Dress Police Tales
We had just come off the floor, Susie beaming in her well-worn Smooth dress of over five years (the woman loves to get her money’s worth), when I noticed we were being followed by a lady looking very stern (Official/Invigilator). Stalked is a better description, just keeping enough distance, seemingly staring at Susie. I think rut-roh, hope it’s not us; but the announcer didn’t blast an Offender Number Announcement, so why worry?
Little did I know, there are also Dress Police scanning those ladies in their 60’s and 70’s who think they are at a singles’ bar (in dresses that cost thousands). As we sit down at our table, the mysterious Invigilator approaches Susie, stares at the cleavage area on her dress (covered with nude fabric and stones), and says, “I see now, I thought you were showing too much cleavage and you didn’t have the required fabric.” I had not been following the conversation (thinking not about the next heat, but about more important things such as “where are we going to eat” or “I could sure use a drink).” But as soon as I heard the word “cleavage”, I snapped right up and with the best stretched posture of the event began scanning the room for the offender. Then I realized the official was talking to an incredulous Susie. A crowd of concerned women quickly gathered around our table. “You really need to put stones on the fabric, so I won’t be mistaken,” the official declared. Confused, Susie looks down at the fabric already covered with stones and wonders if there might be an optometrist in the building. All the concerned women are now checking their cleavage like a bee has been set loose in the room. But before Susie can reply, the Dress Police walks away (thereby denying me the opportunity to ask her how to apply for the job). Susie says, “What was that about? I’ve worn this dress in over 10 competitions.” To which I reply, “Susie, you have been InBoobilated.” Some things you will never forget.
From the Mouths of Babes
As we began our new Open Smooth routines, we were not accustomed to the amount of couple separation that occurs. During one of our first practices, Susie separates and hooks her foot on my ankle. The girl is going down, bubye style, completely sprawled on the floor, arms extended… looking like a wood floor angel staring straight up. She lays there a moment in disbelief, performs a self-check, then back to practice. Gonna be sore in the morning.
In the morning, Susie talks on speaker phone with her sister and four-year-old niece as they go to school. Susie relays her wood floor angel story, summing up with a description of the excruciating pain in her bottom. To which the young niece replies, “Aunt Susie, have Mr. Chris kiss it to make it better, that’s what Mema does to my hurts.” I swear Susie has been trying to get that done for seven years; I have heard it directed to me several times in practice. Truth, from the mouths of babes.
Monkey Tail Tales
Back in Smooth lessons with our coach: At the beginning of the Open Waltz routine, I approach Susie and she lovingly lays her head and arm on my shoulder and melts away in a runaway to open. No problem, right? But from our coach’s perspective, our attempt visually reminded her of someone bent over double while getting sick. I have never heard of so many things going wrong on one move. So, we gonna need a few adjustments.
Off the coach goes to the Marquis de Sade storage box where she keeps the “dance teaching aids.” She returns with a standard elastic band she calls the Monkey Tail. She explains to Susie that she wants her to suck in the gut and keep her head and chest high, as she “melts” away (you Latin girls will know what she means). She uses the elastic to get Susie into the proper position and help illustrate the point. Huh? Well, she wraps the elastic around Susie’s waist and says she will pull her back during the runaway. She wants Susie to mimic a Monkey with her bottom out leading the way. I guess the elastic in the back is the tail. Who knows where coaches get this stuff.
OK, here we go. Waltz music, please. I approach Susie and slowly turn her around as she proceeds to gently lay her arm and head on my shoulder. Very soft and waltzy (A Kodak moment for the audience). Then I separate us with an equally gentle push as Susie’s “melt” to runaway move begins. Our coach makes her point by forcefully pulling the elastic tail. Susie’s “melt” now resembles more of a dragster at a racetrack. She rapidly disappears to the other side of the studio, arms flailing (visualize the robot in Lost in Space) like she is on a Slingshot ride at an amusement park. I just stare at the panic in her eyes, as she is pulled away by a very determined coach, and resign myself to a very long lesson. Not the elegant look we hoped to achieve. As Susie faded in the distance, I slowly (in Waltz time) wave bye bye. I do not think Susie will forget the Monkey Tail.
Come Laugh with Us
Without humor, Susie and I could not endure the endless hours of practice and being told how every twitch of our body is incorrect in lessons. We know there is an encyclopedia of dance tales in our USA Dance universe. And those tales are just waiting to be told. We encourage our peers to share to American Dancer their tales of woe, mishaps, mistakes, and silly humor that are part of the dance life. After all, every older dancer needs a good laugh to ease the pain.
Chris Page and Susie King have been dancing competitively as partners in USA Dance since 2015. Currently, they compete in Senior IV Standard and Smooth. Both live in Jacksonville, Florida, and are members of the USA Dance Chapter #6058 North Star Jacksonville.