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The Ballroom

Confidently entering Kutsher's Resort ballroom in the Catskills, I did not anticipate having to make such a surreptitious exit...

Ardelle Hirsch dancing embarrassment

There are few things better able to engender confidence, restore my emotional equilibrium or connect my soul to a blissful state than dancing.  


Dancing is one thing I always knew I could do and could do well. I love to dance. 

When I was barely 4, I can still remember prancing about an elementary school gymnasium in the Bronx, easily replicating with perfection the steps led by the instructor that no one else could master. 


“Do it the way Ardelle does,” the teacher gently suggested.  I can still hear her voice.

And I still remember the way I felt. 

Throughout my life, it was easy for me to excel at and get noticed for my dancing. It is my greatest passion. It is where time and space merge in an ethereal, euphoric state of bliss. 

I was feeling particularly emotionally fragile several years ago.  My youngest child was packing for college, and I had barely survived a brutal divorce, my mother’s death, a job loss, family illness and the death of my beloved cat.  I needed to restore my soul or risk losing my sanity.  

And so I found myself at Kutcher’s in the former Borscht Belt at a ballroom dance weekend where 600 dancers from all across the country were immersed in an amalgam of music, mediocre food and ineffable magic as they sashayed around the dance floor in elegant clothes and proper dance shoes. I felt right at home.

I was feeling psychologically dehydrated and wanted to look good. I had carefully selected a lovely, silky bright red ball gown that flattered my figure and had a skirt that would flow easily as I danced. Before entering the ballroom I stopped at the ladies room to double check my appearance. 


Perfect. No lipstick on my teeth. 

Walking down the hall I noticed a number of people who passed turned their heads for a second glance and smiled. I must look better than I thought, and clearly the gown I selected had made a very favorable impression.  I was feeling confident as I entered the "Pacific Ballroom" and began to dance. 


And indeed, I attracted a fair amount of attention and noticed quite a few eyes following my red slinky gown as I slid across the dance floor. When I sat down, a young woman on the other side of the room gestured to me, and at my gown, and mouthed something I couldn’t quite make out. 


I lowered my eyes and placed my hand humbly on my chest and over articulated a silent “thank you” so that she could read my lips from the other side of the room.  


We repeated this silent conversation three times before she rose with some degree of frustration and hurried over to where I was sitting.  She seemed a bit flustered as she approached, her finger wagging back and forth with the unmistakable universal sign for “No, no, no.” 

I looked up and smiled radiantly with confidence as she reached me and awaited the inevitable compliment on my gown or my dancing or both. 


“Your dress is tucked in your underpants. Your ass is showing.”  And then she turned and disappeared.  


Backing out of that ballroom in high heels required much more dexterity than I could have imagined.  I knew I had made quite an impression but not exactly the impression I was hoping to make. 

And now, I always check for more than lipstick on my teeth before leaving a ladies room. 

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