The Birthday Dance
Doin' My Solo
Giving the Ultimate Gift With Lots of Love
I've always loved dancing. I don't remember exactly when I started doing it but I think it was sometime between walking and running. My first dance teacher, my father George Moore, wasn't a professional but I'd bet on him any day in a freestyle groove contest. Not only could he do a mean "Mashed Potato" but he was also a great partner when a slow song came on. At 6'4" he didn't look like he could be as graceful as he was but every time he danced everyone stopped and stared at the big African-American man doing his thang.
My First Solo:
I don't think he realized he was teaching me, because he never formally showed me how to move, he just danced in front of me and I picked it up by watching and imitating him, but he was. He used to get such a kick out of it that whenever his friends came over, for an evening get-together, he'd wake me up to dance for them.
"Watch this," he'd say as he put a soul record on the record player.
The Soundtrack of My Childhood:
It didn't matter that I was half asleep, when I heard the music I'd wake up, and start getting down.Then they'd all laugh and clap along with the music while I danced up a storm. Growing up, my neighborhood, reverberated with a constant soundtrack of soul music. My friends and I didn't have computer games then, instead we boogied to Motown and r'n'b, rode bikes, skated and played with Barbie dolls. Practically every week-end we went to, or had, house parties where everyone got up and danced, and when I went to Manhattan Place Elementary School I started making up dance routines with my friends, Kelly,Sue and Ronette.
We'd watch the Temptations, Four Tops and Jackson Five on t.v. then try to copy their steps on our own. We never planned on performing any of them in front of anyone until Ronette came to up with a problem. Her mother's birthday was coming up soon and she wanted us to help her find a present that would fit her zero budget.
The Birthday Routine:
I don't remember who came up with the idea to create a routine for her mother's birthday present, which would be performed at her party, but I do remember that once we decided to do it we practiced faithfully whenever and wherever we could-in Kelly's den, my living room, and on the playground at Manhattan Place. The day of the party, we were all nervous especially me, since my solo was first. When we told everyone we were ready to perform, they all sat down in chairs, on the couch, and on the floor to watch us. Despite my shyness, when I heard the beginning of Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch (the song we picked to do our dance to) I gave my solo all I had. To my surprise, Ronette's mother liked it so much she clapped loudly and threw a dollar down on the floor while I was dancing!
After we all performed, Kelly, Sue, Ronette and I, all went out and spent my dollar at the store on candy, potato chips and soda. To this day I still feel the same love for dance I did back then when Ronette's mother made me feel like the center of the universe.
Good Music to Dance To: