We Learn To Dance
by George Chevalier

Somewhere near the end of JR. High, a lot of us boys realized we were laboring under a handicap by not knowing how to dance. We all could see the writing on the Playshed Wall for dancing was a prime requisite in the successful pursuit of your current heartthrob. I was so desperate I even asked my Mother to show me how and she tried but gave up on my bungling two left feet.

And so it was one day that I was served with the news that I had been enrolled in Ilona Sears Cotillion Class held in Ancon. Stunned by this I sought solace among my pals only to find out they too had been tagged to acquire the social graces. Feeling a little better knowing I would have company I would be driven to the Sears studio where the education of my feet began.

Older girls were the instructresses and we were whirled into the basics of the Foxtrot, Waltz, Tango, Polka and Rhumba. It was a bit embarrassing being held and led by these older young ladies although when we paired off with female learners our own age we did much better. But alas I never mastered anything past the Foxtrot and down through the years this has kept me locked in to only the slow numbers so I would have to exit the floor when the Lindy or Rhumba were played.

In Sr.High, I could see the real twinkle toes were the most popular but I recall the price they paid for all that mad twirling in Jitterbug. That was to be soaking wet with perspiration and the real Jazzbos would bring an extra tuxedo to the Proms at the Tivoli and during intermission would hit the men's room to completely change clothes. Ugh! Not for me! To this day the smell of gardenias brings back wonderful memories of slowly floating over the Tivoli dance floor with that vivacious little brunette from Gamboa who had totally captivated me. Just think, if not for those Cotillion Classes, I might have missed all of this.

George C.