Shall We Jump?         Linda’s Story

She started early -- about when she could talk -- and jump.  Her favorite thing to do when she got so excited about life that she couldn’t express her delight in any other way was to ask, “Shall we jump?!” and then levitate off the ground in a burst of sheer energy and irrepressible glee.  She’s been “jumping” and dancing ever since.

Real lessons started about age 6.  Ballet, tap, and figure skating -- she lived in Minnesota after all.  When she moved “out west” the others fell away, but ballet stuck -- for eleven or twelve years, and then it morphed into modern for a few more years -- Martha Graham technique. 

Dance recitals, talent shows, high school musicals -- she had fun performing in them all, sometimes “illegally” (she was under age!) -- years later she would also perform with the Savoy Swing Club Performance Troupe, the University of Washington Dance Program and Seattle Dance Project.

Social dancing started early and really took off in college when she and her boyfriend would sneak to a back corner of the Hub ballroom at UW dances, to Swing dance and toss in a few aerials --- (he was the first guy she had ever met who was a better dancer than she was.  What a find!) -- soon there would be a circle of people standing around watching them dance.  So much for privacy!

Fast forward a lifetime.  She’s picking up her fourteen year old son after an outdoor-school trip.  He flings open the car door, sticks his head in and announces, “I gotta learn to dance!”  Then he plops himself onto the seat and slams the door.  She looks at him sideways and says, “Oh-h-k-a-y -- what brought this on?” And he proceeds to describe in rapturous tones the wild, cool, and wonderful dancing the high school counselors were doing after dinner in the mess hall at camp.  They were Swing dancing.  It was our introduction to the huge Swing and Lindy revival of the 80’s and 90’s and Linda was propelled backwards and forwards at the same time.  Back to her passion (long suppressed by the way-too-serious distractions of being a grown-up) and forward into a renewed life of dance -- this time the social side -- with a vengeance and a twist.

After a certain amount of blissful gluttony feeding at the sumptuous smorgasbord of dance that is Seattle, she was struck by lightning on the way home from a Living Traditions Richard Powers Waltz Weekend.  Her passion for all things dance, and her training and experience in education came together with a thunderous crash and blinding enlightenment -- and she cried all the way home.  She couldn’t even see to drive. She’s been living a dream and teaching others to dance ever since. . . . and still taking classes herself -- Ballet, Modern, Tango, Tap, Jazz, Ballroom, World -- and post-graduate studies in dance, music, rhythm and culture at UW -- in addition to all the dances she teaches.  Her excuse -- “A girl can never know too much about dance.  Besides, it keeps me happy.”

“Dance is the air we breathe.”

                    -- Gregg Burge*

*Gregg Burge -- 1957-1998, Tap dancer and choreographer, began dancing at age 7, attended Julliard.  Credits include TV, stage and film. Appeared in film version of A Chorus Line, four years as the Scarecrow in The Wiz on Broadway. Nominated and won many awards.

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