Day 5: Dancing with my thumbs

by marylee



I would never insult dancers by calling myself a dancer.

I played the role of Betty Blake in The Will Rogers Follies in 1994.  It was one of my favorite casts and I still keep in touch with almost everyone of them.

The God fearing people of Branson Missouri didn’t know what to make of 20, long legged, pin curled, New Yorkers descending on Wal-Mart emptying the false eyelashes from the shelves.

I celebrated my 26th birthday there and the cast chipped in to give me a pair of tap shoes, then tried to teach me the shows opening  number. It wasn’t pretty. 

The choreography had a western feel and much of it was done with the thumbs hooked into the belt buckle.  To this day, if I tap dance, I stick my thumbs in my pants. 

So on day five I relinquish my tap shoes and a few other pairs of character shoes that I swiped from shows at closing.

There is something about knowing the shoes pirouetted across a stage that enchants me. They carry an energy all their own and don’t deserve to be locked away in a musty basement. 

I hope some young hoofer finds them, wears them to an audition and gets her first big break.


This is not me.