Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Oh, Tap!

So I started a tap class last week.

Yep, as in tap dance.

That's right.

Let me offer a bit of background on what brought me to that opening sentence.

My friend, Carisa, had some "deconstruction" surgery (if you will) last summer.

That is me and Carisa, her daughter Logan and my Ellie (acting
terribly excited to be photographed). We are at McDaniel's
basketball game. Carisa was quite spirited when the refs
made some iffy calls.

You can read about that here and here.
(Carisa's surgery, not her hollering at the refs at my daughter's basketball game.)

And more about Carisa  here.

Carisa announced even before the surgery that she wanted to take a tap class once she recovered from the surgery.

An act of "liberation" in her new "downsized" form 
(if you will).

Are we on the same page yet?

Well, 9 months later, we started tap dance class last week with our friend Julie.

Shopping for tap shoes was interesting.

Carisa was instantly drawn to the black and white saddle shoe meets zoot suit mobster looking tap shoes.

But they were $75.

We quickly asked for the "cheap section".

I had it in my head what my girls had when they tapped

when they were 3.

You know, the shiny mary janes with ribbon ties?

Yep, that's my feet on the left up there in the photo.

Carisa went with the understated oxford.

She did look at tutus as well.
But I am getting ahead of myself.

The write up on the class description suggested a dress code of tap shoes and a leotard.

Yeah, a leotard.

We asked our sweet dance store worker lady to define a leotard and she said,

"Like a one-piece bathing suit."

That's Carisa in the black.
I am in the red with my best
soap opera stare.
So. Not. Happening.

as Carisa suggested, 
she could wear several different tutus all over her body.

That might be worth seeing.

Sweet dance store worker lady suggested wearing yoga pants and a t-shirt instead.

Done and done.

Well, actually, we wore leggings and long t-shirts to our first class.

That plays a role later on.

We were all asked to fill out paper work in the dance studio lobby when we arrived for the first class.

We were asked to fill out things like 

Father's phone number and work address.

A few of the older ladies snickered.

I roughly assessed our class:

one senior citizen (just beautiful--her skin is like butter)
one slightly older
one my mom's age
three roughly same age 
one younger.

Everyone was very friendly and excited to be taking the class.

Then out walks our instructor.

Every bit of 68 years oldish.

All big blond hair with a flip,
very tanned skin,
heavily lined eyes,
orange peach lipstick,
at least 6 gold necklaces around her neck,
cute coordinating yoga pants and tank top,
(no leotard, thank you very much!)
looking VERY MUCH like someone who has said, 
"Kiss my grits!" to someone in her life.

Carisa and I looked at each other like, 

"Well, here we go."

The instructor's name is Judy and I could not have been MORE WRONG in my first impression of her.

I can't imagine her saying "Kiss my grits!" to anyone. 

Sweetest thing EVER.

She finds a way to compliment you even as you are berating yourself for messing up that step ball chain AGAIN!

I thought this class was going to be a lot of laughing and joking around and possibly getting into trouble by Judy for talking and/or passing notes in class.

I didn't think about the fact that there would be an ENTIRE WALL of mirrors in front of us.

Seriously, it is impossible to "sneak" 
when everyone can see everyone.

Not that I tried.

As soon as we started tapping I was hooked.

I was transfixed by spry little Judy with her energy and 

muscular arms.

Yep, Judy has some guns.

She told us that her mother started tap dancing after a knee replacement at the age of 75.


Our friend Julie came into class with high-heel tap shoes.

The show off.

And she was good.
And she WISELY stood in between Carisa and I.

I found out that tapping makes my thighs jiggle

a lot.

I saw them in the wall of mirrors.

I also found out that fashion leggings from Old Navy were not a smart choice in dance wear

because they S-T-R-E-T-C-H out

particularly in the crotch for whatever reason.

They started bagging down towards my knees fairly quickly 

and had me yanking them up all class.

I also found out that I should wear socks with my cute shiny mary janes with ribbon ties.

She didn't.

I had two whopper blisters on the tops of my feet 
by the end of class.

The more steps we learned, I found myself wanted to scream,

"SSHHH! I need to hear Judy!"

Tapping is loud. 

Especially when everyone is doing it at different times.

When it is done together.


We didn't use music until the last few minutes of our first class.

When Judy walked to the stereo, I was all thinking in my head,

"Well, it's about time."

Because I thought I would look like this:

Then Judy put on The Beach Boys and everything I learned went out the window.

I couldn't keep up.

Instead I felt like this:

She wrapped up the class by telling us we were great and she really liked us.

And to practice.

I wanted to hug her sweet big blond hair.

I came home and couldn't remember the names of the steps.

Or the steps.

I kept thinking I would YouTube a tutorial or something.

But I didn't.

I was SORE! 

I didn't anticipate what a workout tapping would be.

Julie, Carisa and I all go to a bible study on Tuesday mornings. 

There are the most precious older ladies that attend that bible study.

When one of them, Peggy, heard we were taking a tap class,

she hopped out of her chair and started doing

a little buffalo step
and kick ball chain.

She was fantastic!

I have

to learn.

Last night was the 2nd class and I had to admit to Judy that I went blank on everything and didn't practice.

She turned it all into a compliment somehow.

I love Judy.

We learned new steps on top of the old ones and listened to music more.

Like James Dean
and Frank Sinatra.

We "free form" danced a little more while Judy was fooling with the stereo.

I might actually practice this week.


  1. How exciting! I have always wanted to tap dance as an adult but the first time I mentioned it to my husband he laughed hysterically. That was the end of that! Now I just live out my fantasy through listening to my fingers on my laptop keyboard as I type. Sounds remarkably similar! :)
    Good for you girl!
    Dysfunction Junction

  2. I LOVE that you are taking tap! My grandma was an instructor so I grew up tapping. SOmewhere around freshman year in high school it became un-cool and I stopped. Years later my sister in law and I took adult tap. Fun and funny too! Enjoy yourself. I will be waiting for the video : )

  3. what fun!!!! My Father taught me a few steps when I was young. He used to teach dance at Arthur Murrays dance studio in New York when he was young. I really enjoyed my visit to your sweet blog. Hugs and thank you for sharing at the Thursday Favorite Things hop xo


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