Two years ago, world-renown tap dancer Savion Glover, came to London. Having danced with one of his co-stars during my days in the New Jersey Tap Ensemble, I convinced my flat mates to join me at Sadlers Wells and emailed my mom to tell her that I’d be too busy partying with Savion to participate in our weekly Skype chat that evening.
“Yeah right,” she replied. “Dream on.”
And dream I did. Growing up in New Jersey and performing frequently in Glover’s home town of Newark, I was one of the many hopeful adolescents who waited backstage at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, practically salivating for the great hoofer’s autograph while I should have been busy rehearsing.
As such, it was all I could do to keep from squealing like a teenage girl when, years later, I found myself invited to join the Tap Dance Kid himself for dinner after his show at Sadlers Wells.
“You’re never going to believe where I was last night!” I later told my mom. And why would she? I’m not the sort of girl who dines with celebrities and even I had a hard time believing that I eventually accompanied two of Savion’s co-stars to a nightclub in Camden Market and spent the following night at their hotel, reminiscing about past performances.
(And no, in this case, “reminiscing” is not a euphemism. Even though I had a crush on one of the dancers, said crush began when I was nine years old and the thought of engaging in “fieldwork” with a boy whose mother used to talk parenting with mine during rehearsals was a bit too much, even for me.)
Nonetheless, I did squeal like a teenage girl when I learned that Savion was to perform here in Philadelphia at the Kimmel Center, because now, I have several dozen teenage girls under my tutelage.
Thanks to an “anonymous patron of the arts” I was able to buy tickets for my Friday night classes. Even though they’re my most challenging, I’ve always been a sucker for lost causes and figured a trip to the theatre just might do the trick.
Of course, there’s a huge difference between simply buying tickets and organizing a field trip. I never understood why my 4-H chaperones seemed so perpetually stressed out when I was in high school but now I know why. There are permission forms to collect, reminder emails to send, transportation to arrange, snacks to prepare, dress codes to enforce…
“I’m jealous!” an old friend declared as I listed my preparations during our discussion on Saturday afternoon. “It sounds like so much fun!”
“It will be,” I replied, “once they’re all at the theatre and in their seats!”
I’m so going to need a drink afterwards but with any luck, this drink will be with the cast, after my charges are safely returned to their parents.