Come on, babe. Why don’t we paint the town?

And, all that jazz.

I’m not a musical theater buff in any shape or form. Harboring cheesy dance moves and peppy tunes that get eternally stuck in my head, I usually steer clear. However, there are exceptions.

I appreciate the dark and gritty, R-rated types…specifically Chicago, my all-time favorite. Give me glamorous femmes fatales and the unmatched genius of Bob Fosse any day.

Somehow I missed the boat, and have never danced to “All That Jazz”. Now you might be thinking…big whoop! But, it’s kind of against nature for a jazz dancer.

See, I was too curvy for tutus, too skeptical for interpretive dance—you know the kind where you’re supposed to actually be the tree—and too demure to crunk.

Jazz dancing has always been the right fit for me, a chance to sass and captivate. I could pretend to be back in the 1920s, a spunky cabaret dancer teasing the crowd and having a ball.

Recently, opportunity came knocking on my door.

Last Friday, RunUp 2012: The Roaring Twenties, a 1920s themed fashion show, gala, and costume party benefitting Froedtert and The Medical College of Wisconsin Cancer Unit, commenced at the Historic Pritzlaff Building here in Milwaukee.

Guess who finally got to perform “All That Jazz”?

A good friend of mine, Hannah (the striking blonde who looks like Roxy Hart’s twin) was choreographing, and offered up the gig to a select few—the Jazz hands experts. The four of us would serve as back-up dancers to Bjorn Nasett, a legendary entertainer making a comeback.

Last year I hung up my performance shoes. Enthusiastically, I took them down, tossed some fishnets on, and got my shimmying self back on the stage.

And, it was grand.

Photo by Abe Van Dyke |
Photo by Abe Van Dyke |
Photo by Abe Van Dyke |

Sometimes I teeter on dualistic, an all or nothing kind of gal. This unexpected return to the spotlight taught me to rethink my stubborn ways, to be open to the right kind of opportunities.

Of all the times I’ve performed, I’ve only been paid once. Some years ago an envelope bulging with cash was hastily thrust into my hands before a ballet class, and it was weird.

Dancers don’t do it for money. The ones who do get paid earn peanuts.

As much effort as it takes, dancing for joy and pleasure has always made sense to me. It’s a special art I’ve known intimately all my life. It’s an honor to take people away, to make them smile, to encourage them to let go and have fun.

What happens on the stage is beneficial to everyone—the performers, the spectators, the choreographers and directors. To escape the grind for the sake of feeling good is a necessary perk of life.

In the words of Billy Flynn: “This trial…the whole world…it’s all…show business.”

If I can get my hands on some video footage of our performance, I will most certainly post. Until then, here’s a fun poll…I’ll reveal the correct answer at the end of next week.

9 thoughts on “Come on, babe. Why don’t we paint the town?

    1. I did have a lot of fun…so much that my originally planned sultry face just wasn’t happening. I was grinning like a fool. : )

      I agree on the all or nothing idea. I’m trying to be more open to things.

  1. As much as you tried to teach me to dance when we were younger, it never took. I always enjoyed watching you dance though and it made me smile to see you in action again!

    1. Thanks. : )

      It took me an hour to get all those bobby pins out and I almost thought the eyelashes were there to stay. They work in costume, but every day? Hello, weirdo!

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