My Love of Dance Began
with my feet on my father’s toes.
Like some Disney princess, I had songs in my head and danced while cleaning house, and choreographed talent show acts in my girlfriend’s basement. Young and sweet, only seventeen, and found my inner pop icon in front of a mirror, singing into a hairbrush. I vamped Broadway musicals to my embarrassed family, and when I got to college I learned how to waltz. (T’ai chi, Tae kwon do, qi gong, fencing, and combat polka were also great training.)
In college, I learned Viennese waltz on the toes of a Hungarian fencing master, and brought swing dancing into vogue wherever I landed. For years, I taught every teen boy I could find the art of inspiring trust and confidence, committing to be a fool on any dance floor and God’s Gift to women.
Fate swept me up with a great gang of girls who formed the DecoBelles. I performed as a vintage bathing beauty/femmes fatale/pinup girl, and achieved a lifelong goal of dancing with fruit on my head. I was even sashed and tiara’d as “Miss Art Deco”.
Then one day I heard drums. I remembered I had been born in Motown and had more shake in my hips than a properly strapped-down white girl should express. KRS-10, my secret hiphop philosopher identity, longed for a place in my life.
When Zumba discovered me, I followed the call to help liberate the spirit of dance in others on a more regular basis. I found a way to party daily, without a partner, without cocktails, high heels, or hangovers. Dance makes exercise easy, and gives me a break from the computer. It fit with my dream to play for a living. And choreography is writing I do for my body.
I still love to waltz and swing dance, but getting in front of a crowd of moms, dads, seniors, high school students, or kids brings something alive in me. As a Decobelle I shocked myself by standing, scantily clad, in front of a crowd, and as a dance leader I lose myself in the magic of mirror neurons, galvanizing energy through shared movement in non-performance. We are all embodied spirits and sources of emotional power.
As a founding member of the DecoBelles, I performed at many events for the Art Deco Society, private parties, and charity balls at venues such as:
- Treasure Island and The Paramount Theater (ADSC Preservation Ball)
- Dunsmuir House (The Gatsby Summer Afternoon)
- Fort Mason (The Academy of Friends)
- The Fillmore
- Hearst Castle (California State Parks Foundation)
See “The Dawn of the Decobelles” for scenes from the early days!
90-120 minute general interest events on a theme include easy-to-follow dance routines interlaced with all sorts of fascinating tales and teaching. I do dance instruction around the free TeachRock™ curriculum for K-12 instructors with original choreography. Subscribe to my mailing list for invitations, and contact me for corporate retreats and events.
- Devil’s Music
- Salute to America
- Around the World in Eighty Minutes
- Black Music Matters
- Hear Us Roar
- Zumbathons! (2014, 2015, 2017, 2019) for Oakland Tech, Oakland Peace Center
- By a Waterfall Water Ballet at The Bellevue Club (choreography and performance)
- Annual polka parties at Oaktoberfest! in the Dimond District
Writers become alcoholics, smokers, hunchbacks, addicts. Dancers have good posture and take impeccable care of their bodies. I still want to be writing when I’m ninety. So I dance. Every book has dance in it, somewhere.
“Each dancer is an individual note in relation to all of the others.” — from Dance Like a Decobelle
- Your Writing Exercise is … Exercise! on Writer’s Fun Zone
- Dance Like a Decobelle (in progress)—a prescriptive guide to the good life on the dance floor as a chorus girl, bathing beauty, femme fatale.
With apologies to the vertical dance pioneers, I call my dance fitness practice Bandaloop in honor of Tom Robbins’ juicy novel, Jitterbug Perfume. I read it just out of college and have always struggled against the seduction of the rope yards to seek and follow lightness. Also, I teach Prancercise™.
“I never thought of myself as a dancer! But in your classes I feel so free.” —Louise, 79
“Who knew you could Zumba to Glenn Miller?” — Janet, 68
“This is the best break in my week. It helps everything else go smoothly.” — Lela, 42
“I just feel so happy all day long after class!” —Atefe, 24
“You’re a great teacher. We all look forward to ‘getting down’ on Fridays.” —Josh, 17