Wednesday, March 24, 2010

92nd COG: Dance--Dancin' in the Street

The topic for the next edition of the COG will be: Dance! Did you take dance lessons as a child? Did your parents go out dancing every Friday at the Elks Hall? Do you enjoy taking in a good ballet at the theater? Care to share a memory from your high school prom? What role does dancing play in your family history? Come on, let's cut a rug! Thank you to Jasia at Creative Gene for again hosting this event.

Yep....not your grandparents music and dance--or not MY grandparents;-) Just listening to this while blogging is almost causing me to jump up from the computer and dance around the basement. Actually, I didn't cut my dance teeth on Motown ....Motor City music became popular when I was a teen.

First Dance Recital as a Swirling Snowflake
Dorothy Woodworth School of Dance
June 15, 1954 at age 7

When we moved to Washington Drive back in 1951, we were fortunate to live beside Dorothy Woodworth and family. Dorothy taught dance in a room in the basement of her house. I began ballet when I was six and greatly anticipated the recital each year in June.



There was an annual trip into the North Side of Pittsburgh to purchase new ballet slippers. When I was older, the same trip was made to purchase toe shoes and the little bunnies to protect little toes. One year I fibbed to my Mom and said I could have toe shoes that were not we purchased white. Mrs. Woodworth was furious...LOL


In later years, as the school of ballet grew, Dorothy moved her operation to the Borough Hall in Bellevue, PA. I think I took lessons for seven years. The one year, and I emphasize the word "ONE", I had a solo. I was absolutely terrified. When I was first on stage, saw all the faces in the audience, and took a few steps, my mind went blank and I forgot the entire dance. Fortunately, I did not just stand there frozen--I began dancing around the stage making it up as I went. I guess I was just a natural ;-)


When I think back on the years of lessons my fondest memories are of the beautiful costumes--the fittings, the mother's sewing, the floral bouquets, the feather fans. About two months before the recital a woman (can't remember her name) would come to each class and we would see her designs for our costumes.

My dance regret--I never took tap.

I first began listening to the new popular rock and roll on the radio and American Bandstand on the TV in the late 50's. Pajama parties always required bringing along the handled box containing a collection of 45's. Besides watching horror movies late at night we always danced. Junior High dances--boys on one side of the gym and girls on the other watching those brave enough to get out on the floor and dance together. I didn't do much dancing with boys, but we girls would fast dance together back then. And there were the line dances. I know I can still do "The Stroll".

Trip to NYC in 1962
Dad made sure I saw the Peppermint Lounge

As I came into my teen years, during the 60's, it was mandatory to learn so many new and unusual dances--the watusi, the swim, the pony, the twist, the monkey, the mashed potato, etc. I did them all.

Then there was Motown--talk about great dance music. It was difficult to even sit still when a Motown tune was played. Several years back I visited Motown's Studio A, and sang and danced with the females in the tour group--Stop in the Name of Love. It was a thrill.

Oddly, the fellow I married was not and never has been a dancer. Throughout our 40 plus year marriage, I can probably count on two hands, the number of times we have danced. He would become somewhat agitated when I would dance with other men on various outings, and it usually annoyed him enough to join me on the

I have always loved music....loved to dance. Some of it has to be genetic. My paternal grandparents,
George Henry and Sarah VanGilder Hughes were dancers. They loved to dance at Danceland in West View Park, West View, PA during the 30's and even won some of the contests. My Dad enjoyed dancing and his sister, my Aunt Faith, was still dancing and teaching dance well into her 70's.

Did all this dancing make me more agile....more graceful....not even close! Am I still able to "cut a rug"? Nope, I couldn't compete on Dancing with the Stars! Arthritis has put a crimp in my step.
Would I still love to jump up on the dance floor....YES. I guess it's just in my's a Hughes thing!

© 2010, copyright Linda Hughes Hiser


  1. Great photos, great memories.

  2. Now you've got me singing, too. Dance played little or no role in my early life, but for my daughters - that's a whole 'nother story.

  3. Great post, you sure did a lot of dancing! I like dancing too, but I never took classes and I don't often do it. Liked reading about your dances though.

  4. Absolutely wonderful!! Loved the stories and the photos!

  5. OMG, the pictures and memories were priceless. I am ready to jump up and dance with you --- if we dinna have the arthritis.

  6. What a fun post! I especially enjoyed the Motown and 1960's dances you wrote about.

  7. Honestly, with the music we grew up with, and American Bandstand showing us the way, how anyone of our generation could NOT dance is beyond me! (And yet, like you and several others who wrote for this carnival, I ended up marrying someone who did not dance. Go figger.)

  8. It is funny because my moms Maiden name was Dorothy woodworth and the the school is called Dorothy woodworth school of dance hmm i wonder if there is a connection.