Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Sweet little Shawn Johnson won this season's Dancing With the Stars trophy by less than 1% tonight.
As I watched her during the excruciatingly long reveal, it was one of the few moments that this talented, 17 year old betrayed her age. There she stood, an Olympic Gold medalist, scared and shaking, obviously certain that the handsome debonair Gilles Marini would walk away with the prize.
While I too was sure Gilles would take home the disco ball trophy, I was delighted when Shawn and her partner, professional dancer, Mark Ballas, heard their names. He, in fact, looked more thrilled than anyone in the room. Gilles for his part was a gracious and generous runner up.
Shawn has acheived quite a lot for a girl so young and I offer her my congratulations. The feeling of accomplishment is probably more exciting tonight than even the financial compensation which should certainly get her through any good college.
Wouldn't it be sweet if more young people became interested in ballroom dancing? Shawn could become a role model and encourage more teens and even pre-teens to do what she has done- push her way out of her comfort zone and take on a new challenge. The dedication and discipline necessary to dance a perfect Viennese Waltz or Argentine Tango would most assuredly carry over into the everyday lives of students. I saw a news story yesterday that reported public schools around the country that are offering, and even requiring, dance classes as a means of teaching respect and social values.
Most folks my age learned, at least, the fundamentals of the Waltz, the Cha Cha Cha, and the Fox Trot when we were kids. Some went to dance classes( I managed one season at ballet and social dance class before choosing to become a Brownie) but many little girls learned in the sweetest manner of all- on Daddy's feet.
To the tunes of Lawrence Welk, and Liberace, and listening carefully to Arthur Murray count the steps for us, we would dance. Often in our prettiest long nightgowns, and sometimes wearing Mommy's crinoline half slip pulled up like a strapless ball gown, we would dream of being a princess just like Grace Kelly, as we danced with the real Prince Charming in our lives. While pretending to be Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty, it never occurred odd to us that once the show was over Daddy/Prince Charming would tuck us into bed and kiss us good night instead of waking us up.
Congratulations Shawn, and thank you for the sweet memories.
See ya down the road,