Posted by: LucidMystery | February 9, 2008

Sequins and Spaghetti Warehouse


Danger: I’m regressing. I last discussed Monkey, and now I’m going back into childhood. Really though, I can’t help it if something triggers a release of memories, all I can do is enjoy them 🙂 Today, a simple passing thought about Spaghetti Warehouse was enough to make me want to pull out a pink frilly tutu and dance around my kitchen…read on to understand that statement.

When I was a kid, I loved my dance classes. Walking up to my studio’s front door was a power trip for me–with my backpack shaped like a Volkswagen bug and filled with tap shoes, ballet slippers, jazz boots and a water bottle, dang I was cool. It didn’t matter to me that I wasn’t at all flexible or terribly coordinated, when I shuffled across the floor, I was the female Fred Astaire or Gregory Hines. I did my triple-buck time steps and turning maxie fords with gusto and all the grace of a dainty orangutan.

The best part about dance classes, though, was the recital. Once a year I was dressed in the craziest concoction of clothing one could possibly imagine while strutting across a stage roughly in time to music, and it was considered not only socially acceptable but socially encouraged. Every little girl needs her ballet performance, and I was no exception. Now granted, the first time I realized there would be a recital, I panicked and declared I wouldn’t do it (I was 7). But I was still 8-ish months away from the big event, so I had time to get used to the idea.

I’m not sure why exactly I loved the whole experience of recital season considering to this day I still get stage fright. Maybe it was the process of dressing up in brightly sequined skirts and leotards while wearing traffic-stopping makeup. Maybe it was my amusement at being able to wave my arms in the dressing room and then feel how sticky they were from the mad quantity of hairspray that lingered in the air. Maybe it was the sound of applause from parents who clap no matter how many times you kicked your heels a beat too slowly. Or maybe…maybe it was the post-recital dinner at Spaghetti Warehouse!

Seven of the ten years I took dance classes, it was from a studio that always booked Vet’s Memorial for the recitals. That meant every year for seven years, after my sister and I had danced our hearts out on stage, we pulled street clothes over our dance tights (but left on the crazy makeup and hair accessories) and had a family dinner at Spaghetti Warehouse. Even to this day, I can walk through the restaurant and point out every table we sat at and recall what costume’s remnants I was wearing. I always felt so cool for sitting there at the table, looking a bit ridiculous, but knowing all the people eating around us had to know where we had just come from. I had just been on stage with an auditorium full of people watching me. For all these restaurant patrons knew, I could be fabulous!

Whew, a baby-ego that needed toning down! It didn’t help when I started competing. Every trophy, ribbon, and medal told me I was cool, and if we ate at Spaghetti Warehouse after the competition was over…well then, that establishment was blessed with my presence!

In all seriousness, though, I really wasn’t that obsessed with myself. Once a year, I loved going out to eat while dressed in the evidence that I had a pretty sweet hobby. And it wasn’t the stage I loved so much, I don’t think. What I loved was showing someone, anyone, what I had been working on all year. I wanted someone to see that I really had improved since the previous year or that my feet could at least keep up with the other girls. For all the distinction I enjoyed when eating at Spaghetti Warehouse while glitzed in sequins, when I was on stage, I loved being just another dancer.


  1. How many years did you take dance lessons? I can’t compete with your training. I’ve taken a ballroom (Latin) class for ten weeks, a line dance class for ten weeks…I’m in my fifth week of the modern dance class…and I was in show choir for three years. But you are probably trained the way Este was. Jerks.


  2. Eep! Uhhh, let me clarify before you put me in Este’s category–Este actually can dance! My skills are essentially in making loud scuffles and clicks with tap shoes. The ballet classes were forced upon me by my teachers when I started competing…apparently even tap dancers need to be graceful 😉

    But make no mistake, I was never hardcore like Pinnell or Straub. My competitions never took me beyond regional levels, and I never did get the hang of double pirouettes or axels. I just liked to boot-scoot-boogie.


  3. I also took dance classes! Man, I wish my experience was as empowering as yours was. All the girls at my studio were snippy and mean. Also, I was the fat girl who couldn’t fit into the costume sizes available for all the “cute” styles the other girls wanted.

    I don’t think your little ego needed toned down at all! You should have felt proud of yourself in that moment!


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