Saturday, December 20, 2008


Did I ever tell you that Momo, Mango and I are Swing Dancers?

We started dancing about 2 years ago (when Mango was 12 and Momo was 9). Initially my husband and I went to a beginners class, but after one lesson, HWMNBN decided that he was not interested in continuing, so I was on my own.

One night, for whatever reason, I decided to bring the kids with me to my class.

The kids pouted and whined and annoyed the crap out of me on the way to the lesson. they continued to pout when we got there but they quickly found seats in the corner of the ballroom and told me to "have fun neglecting their every whim for an hour" (not really, but I know that's what they were thinking).

About 15 minutes into the class, however, I noticed that both Momo and Mango were in the corner of the ballroom trying all the steps that the instructor was teaching. They danced with each other that night and by the end of the class they both wanted to sign up.

And...the rest is history! Momo and Mango fell in love with swing dancing and we were soon on our way... advancing through various levels and adding Lindy Hop and some Charleston (even a little Balboa) and we now want to add Shag and Jitterbug to our repoitaire.

Here's a pic of Mango and Momo warming up for a leasson

Now, it's important to tell you that the classes that we go to are dominted by adults. Occasionally we run into another kid but they are few and far between. This is not much of an issue for Mango (who is about 5'8" tall and can dance with just about anyone) but for Momo (who is barely over 4 feet tall) it leads to a lot of dancing with partners who are much taller than she is.

Here's a pic of Momo and one of her much taller counterparts, John (who happens to be a fantastic dancer and one of our favorites)

Funny thing is the size issue never seems to phase Momo. One of my favorite memories was one night when there was this very tall guy who must have been at least 6'2". When it was his turn to dance with Momo, he was very gracious and he took some hints from the instructor to lift Momo through some turn and other moves and it turned out to be the first time she did a couple of aerial style kicks in the air!

Both Momo and Mango are pretty good dancers but for Momo the judgement is harsher becasue of her size and misjudgement of her age. Momo is actually really good and it is not uncommon for new people kind of freak out that they have to dance with her (a kid they think isn't going to be any good) then they're shocked when she really shows them how it's done!

Here is a funny video of Shorty George and Big Bea (2 well known dancers from back in the day...Momo's dancing dilemma looks something like this, just the other way around)

On a differnt note, last year we had the privilige of going to a workshop with the legendary Frankie Manning (he was 93 years old at the time). We all fell in love with Frankie and at the end of the workshop, we got some great pictures with him along with a wonderful autograph for Momo which says "To Momo, my youngest and most beautiful student, keep on dancing...Frankie Manning".

Frankie Manning will be celebrating his 95th birthday on the same weekend as Momo's 12th B-day in 2009. This year they are throwing a huge birthday bash for Frankie in New York City and we REALLY want to go. Right now, our beloved and world reknowned teacher Sylvia Sykes (who is friends with Frankie) is trying to help us figure out how we can finance the trip and possibly find someone willing to host us in their home so we won't have to pay for a hotel.

Sylvia is really encouraging us to come to the party, and has even offered to let the kids hold bake sales and other fundraisers in the ballroom. She really wants us at the party and just last night (at a fun holiday dance) she told us again how much she wants us to be there. Sylvia has said to me on many occasions that Frankie was so happy to meet Momo and Mango and after we met him he told her how grateful he was that his craft would continue to live on in these young kids who are learning to "hop".

1 comment:

  1. That is SO cool!! Did you know I'm taking dance lessons to try to brush up on old, old, very rusty skills? The teenagers in the class learn the steps SO quickly!! The kids make me feel really slow!

    Tell Momo and Mango to keep it up!!


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