In my earliest memories of dancing, I’m under my auntie Nancy’s dining room table, (which had been pushed off to the side of the room), watching my mom, dad, aunties, and uncles all dancing on the hardwood floor to a never-ending stack of 45 records, dropping one after the other. I remember foot-high stacks of 45s all around the record player. The song that I remember playing most? Twistin’ the Night Away by Sam Cooke. Every time I hear that song, I remember auntie’s spontaneous dance parties. What are your earliest and fondest memories of dance?
Photographers, artists, poets: show us MOVEMENT.
I don’t remember my parents ever dancing. My mother was, and is still, too formal and too self-conscious for that. I do remember, however, my aunts.
My grandparents used to have this huge stereo that occupied half of one wall by the front door, and my aunts would play their records, and sometimes they’d dance. My first memory, and maybe my fondest, would be my two aunts teaching my cousins and I how to dance the hustle. The song? The Hustle, by Van McCoy and the Soul City Symphony, of course.
I don’t think I ever got proficient dancing the hustle, what with all the twisted arms and the dizzying turns – not to mention the fancy footwork they tried to show me. But what I do remember is the laughter. We laughed at our mistakes, our silly attempts to look cool in our bell bottoms and starched collars, and we really tried to dance as well as we could, reducing ourselves to tears with our attempts.
There were other songs that my aunts played, like Boogie Wonderland by Earth, Wind and Fire as well as ABC by the Jackson 5, but The Hustle is my favorite of them all.
And oh, now that I mentioned ABC by the Jackson 5, here they are WITH Carol Burnett, one of my favorite entertainers of all time.
They don’t make them like they used to anymore…