By Jerry Zezima
Hearst Connecticut Media Group
When it comes to dancing, I have two left feet, which makes it extremely difficult to buy shoes. If I were on “Dancing With the Stars,” the judges would all give me perfect scores — of zero. Len Goodman would add insult to injury by saying that only an injury could improve my dancing.
But take it from me, Dread Astaire: I know a winning performance when I see one. And I just happened to see one recently when I attended a dance recital starring my granddaughters, Chloe and Lilly.
They weren’t technically the stars because they were among a cast of dozens in a show whose theme was “The Wizard of Oz.” But they did stand out because they executed their routines perfectly.
Their grandfather, after his routine, would have been executed.
When I was a kid, I took dancing lessons at the Phil Jones School of Dance in my hometown of Stamford, Connecticut, but I was so bad that: (a) none of the girls wanted to be my partner and (b) the school closed.
My wife, Sue, and I took dancing lessons before the wedding of our older daughter, Katie, and her husband, Dave, but like cramming for a geometry test, I forgot everything as soon as the lessons were over. At the wedding, Sue and I did basic geometry by dancing in circles.
We didn’t even bother with dancing lessons before the wedding of our younger daughter, Lauren, and her husband, Guillaume, who are Chloe and Lilly’s mommy and daddy.
At the recital, which drew a large crowd, the girls wore colorful tutus.
I didn’t wear a tutu, which would have been tutu much for my family to bear. Besides, my outfit would have been ruined in the rain because I had to drop off Sue at the door and leave the car about half a mile away.
“I guess they don’t have ballet parking,” I said when we took our seats.
Everyone ignored me. And for good reason: The show was about to begin!
Shortly after the curtain went up, the little kids, including Lilly, who is 2 and a half, pranced out and formed a line. Lilly, dressed in blue with a bright red bow in her hair, was last but not least. She wiggled and sashayed, earning appreciative chuckles from the audience.
To the strains of “Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead,” the group exited stage left. Lilly clapped for herself. The crowd clapped back.
Not long afterward, another group, including Chloe, 6, came out. Each girl was carrying a giant peppermint lollipop. Chloe’s was as tall as she is. In her black and red outfit, she danced to the beat of — you guessed it — “Lollipop.”
“Lollipop, lollipop, oh, lolli, lolli, lolli, lollipop!” went the piped-in lyrics, over and over, filling my normally empty head.
Chloe and the other girls put their right feet out, then their left, bent over and jumped. It was all perfectly timed.
Applause filled the auditorium. It did so again as the troupe exited to “We’re Off the See the Wizard.” Chloe waved to the crowd. Everybody waved in return.
“That was great!” I gushed when the 90-minute show was over. “And Chloe and Lilly were fantastic.”
Befitting their new status as theater celebrities, the girls got flowers backstage and posed for pictures. The only thing they didn’t do was sign autographs, probably because nobody thought to bring crayons.
I can see them in a Broadway musical or the Joffrey Ballet. They might even be on “Dancing With the Stars.”
Or they could open their own school of dance. Their grandfather will be the first one to take lessons.
Copyright 2019 by Jerry Zezima