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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Hey! You! Get Out of My Way! Part 1 Back in Albany New York


I started dancing when I was five. My sister took tap class at Jack Ferrara School of dance in Rotterdam New   York. I used to stand on a hard plastic and chair press my face against the glass window that separated them from the waiting room.  

I would have to jockey for the best position along with the throngs of waiting parents. I was too young to be left at home, so I went and watched. His school was in a strip mall right next to a laundry mat. My Mom would bring large towels or blankets that didn’t fit in our home machines and do them at the Laundromat while we waited.

One day I followed my sister in the room with her and started class. My Mother ran in, grabbed my hand and dragged me out. It was the teacher who asked me to come back in. My Mother reluctantly, let me go. That was it. 

My parents were more ok with my choice of dance as long as I was tapping. That was a masculine form of dance. Our fights started early when I decided I wanted to take ballet. “What will the neighbors think?” my Mother asked me one day. 

“I thought what are the neighbors thinking right now?” When everyone in the neighborhood is playing football or basketball, I’m playing house with my sister and her friends. 

We would put on an old Eartha Kitt album to use as background music and I would pretend to be mean Mrs. Johnson a made up fictitious neighbor complete with drag and wreck my sister’s tea parties.  I knew what the neighbors were saying because most of the time they said it to my face.

The best names that I would be called on a daily basis were Faggot, Queer and Cupcake. Once when I was eleven I had a neighbor ask me to perform fellatio on him. He drove a Trans AM and lived with his Aunt and Uncle.

I was well aware of what the neighbors had to say.

I think that my parents thought if I took ballet, I would become gay. I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t gay I’m pretty clear that dance had nothing to do with it.

In high school I met one a teacher who would influence my life. She was an English Teacher who used to be a dancer. She took me under her wing and molded me. We would take daily classes with her in ballet, jazz and modern. Here is where I was first introduced to Martha Graham, Merce Cunningham and Alvin Ailey. I would be shown video after video of the greatest dancers in the world.

She would take me to Master Classes around the state where I was introduced to so many people in the dance world. I worked so hard and practiced every day. I never told my parents what I was up to and would sneak out of the house to take local ballet classes. Being a boy in the dance world had its benefits and I would take free classes.

At one of these Master Classes I met the owner of a studio in Albany who took an interest in me. I was told to look her up whenever I was in Albany and I could take class with her company.

To be continued……

Geoffrey Doig-Marx holds all written and electronic rights to his writing "A Day in the Life". It can not be reprinted in part or whole without his written consent.

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