My mom taught me how to dance.
I remember the few days leading up to my first high school dance, my mom was explaining to me how to dance in our playroom above the garage.
I don’t remember the style. I don’t remember the music. I just remember my mom tried to teach me how to dance. It made sense, really, my mom loved to dance. She and my father would win swing dance competitions at our church socials.
But imagine being 14 and having your mom trying to teach you how to dance. I just remember it as being awkward and me not really wanting to be there.
30 years later and hear I find myself dancing on stage for a few hundred people raising a few thousand dollars for charity. If only my mom could have been in the audience.
Pace Kids is an organization in Calgary that helps kids with developmental disabilities. Everything from children with cerebral palsy to kids on the autism spectrum. They get one-on-one care in everything from occupational therapy to classroom sessions.
As a spring charity fundraiser they invited some Calgary media types out for a fun night of ballroom dancing. A Dancing With the Calgary Stars, if you will. Myself, Jill Belland, Dan Clapson, Kelsey McEwen, and Erin Strate were paired with instructors from Arthur Murray to learn a 90 second routine.
I eagerly joined for selfish reasons. While my mom may have had to teach me to dance, my son has learned all on his own.
When he was a toddler, his favorite show was DWTS. He’d love yelling TEN! or EIGHT! along with the judges as if they were The Count on Sesame Street. He was captured instantly and would watch repeats of the show on portable video players when we would go on road trips.
We put Zacharie in soccer to learn teamwork and burn some energy. His first few weeks on the pitch, he spent in the backfield twirling to a song in his head. So we put him in dance. He loves it. He’s hip hopping, doing, acro, breakdancing, and he’s found his groove.
So I wanted to learn to dance to show off for my son. And along the way, I met some wonderful people. Trista at Arthur Murray is hilarious. Her effusive joy at being around people and on a dance floor is contagious. She broke my shy, introverted shell in seconds. For 2 months I looked forward to Monday nights and my salsa lesson. We laughed, we told dirty jokes, and I learned to dance.
Competition night was a blur. The DJ started our song too soon, I missed my first spin, and halfway through the dance I muttered to Trista “I don’t know where I am!” “Just spin me!,” she replied and seconds later I had her in a backwards dip to end our routine.
The judges were gracious to give us a couple of 10s giving our dance the second highest score of the night. I saw thousands of dollars raised for some great kids, and on the eve of Mother’s Day I think I did my mom proud, while getting to dance for my dancing son.
Bucket list check! Thanks Pace Kids and Arthur Murrary for an incredible experience. And congrats to Erin Strate for winning the mirrorball trophy!