Take the 'A' Train
Ever since I moved here, about two years ago, all I’ve wanted to do is take a tap dancing class. I hadn’t participated in one since the 8th grade and what better place to pick up this hobby again than New York? So I motivated my old partner, Ms. Howell, and we found a studio that allows you to drop by for an hour and a half class at only $14. But would you believe that there is not a single place in this entire goddamn city that rents tap shoes?
So we showed up to the studio on West 38th at 11:30 on Saturday morning in the best substitute we could find: high heels. When she noticed, the teacher gave us a good-luck-you’ll-need-it look. I didn’t care, though, since the studio was exactly what I had in mind for my New York tap dancing session: it’s open and airy, with hard wood floors, one wall of mirrors, and another wall of windows looking out onto the city. Also, when you consider the location of the studio, and use a slight stretch of imagination, we were practically dancing on Broadway.
Of course, once we started, I realized that I just don’t have it anymore, the tap dancing skills. I was a little rusty, I must admit, not that this stopped me from enjoying the class. After each routine, the teacher, an animated woman with melting makeup, would offer advice, critiques, and high fives. Ms. Howell and I both received a number of high fives, and the teacher even told me that I have “spirit.”
But tap dancing is really hard, dear blahg, and it’s not enough just to keep up. You have to have grace and timing, since it’s all about anticipating the perfect place to shift your weight. Mostly, though, it’s about moves, and I have no moves. While the teacher was happy to have us, I got the feeling the rest of the class was a little resentful towards our dropping in on a whim.
I had hoped for a class full of washed up Broadway starlets. Instead, it was an odd mix of people who took the class a little too seriously for my taste. You will never see these people again, I told myself as Ms. Howell and I flap ball-changed across the floor in a pair exercise, the entire class watching our fumbled steps and listening to our hollow taps.
Now that was a little awkward. But I still have the digs and cramp rolls down and no matter how sloppy your feet look, as long as you keep the arms going, with a smile plastered to the face, you’re fine. Right in the thick of the shuffle exercises, with twenty minutes left, I glanced over at Ms. Howell, in heels at least two inches higher than mine, and we exchanged a look of pure pain. I could no longer feel my feet but at least I could check this off on my list of things to do.