I grew up when dancing was our main recreation. I think I was more shy than most.
I was still very shy when I took a ballroom dancing class as a freshman at then-Ricks College in 1951. The lady was very patient with me. Still, it took me years to learn to dance like nobody was watching. There are some lyrics from a country song that I like:
Sing like you don't need the money
Love like you'll never get hurt
Dance like nobody's watching
Let it come from the heart, or it's not gonna work.
The folks would make us a bed in the back of the pickup and back it up near the door to the old Recreation Hall in Pine, Ariz. There were three of us kids, then. I was the oldest. I would try to stay awake to hear the music, but always fell asleep.
My parents danced a lot. I loved it from the first, but was always tense, thinking that I did not know how well enough. I finally learned to do a pretty good West Coast Swing. I learned it when I was in South Phoenix. That was where the really good dancers hung out.
A bronco rider that I admired told me to "dance with the best dancer that will dance with you, and keep making tracks. You'll get if after awhile."
I'm sure that it comes easier to some than others. It seems like women learn to dance easier than men, but maybe they just want it more. I believe the reason that no one knows how to dance because it is too much work. We Americans have become a lazy bunch.
When my cousin and I were attending Arizona State in Tempe, we attended M.I.A. at the Mormon wards where they danced after mutual, the weekly activity for youths. There were always those that tried to discourage it, even then.
There was a lot of excitement when they did the dance festival every summer in Salt Lake. My daughters were involved in that. They are in their 40s now.
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Back in the Dark Ages, when I was a teenager, there were rodeos in all of the small towns in Arizona. They all had dances after the rodeo.
Everybody could dance a little, and most of the young women were really good dancers. All ages showed up, and the little kids would be asleep on the benches around the hall. Grandad watched over the little ones at the dances when he was near 90. Kids today miss all of that. Dancing is the most enjoyable way to exercise that there is, I think.
We are "seasoned citizens," but we still go out dancing.
Vern Fuller lives in Mesa, Ariz.