Years ago, in what now feels like an entirely separate life, I was a dance instructor for a few years. Though I taught classes in both tap and jazz dancing, my favorite of all was tap dancing. It was incredibly fun, and while I don’t think I was ever quite to the level of Fred Astaire or Danny Kaye, I was pretty good and learned quite a few fun tricks. For my younger readers wondering who the heck those guys are, feel free to pause here and google them. Trust me, they were awesome! What strikes me as funny is that I didn’t so much dream of wanting to be a dancer as much as simply exploring a dream of wanting to trying dancing. This was during a time when I was very interested in pursuing musical theatre and I hoped that having a bit of dancing skills would help me in that path. I could sing rather well and act somewhat believably, but the ability to dance made me much more competitive. In that world, having this third skill is what’s known as a “triple threat.” In reality, to truly earn this title you had to be able to act, sing, and dance with equal aplomb. In my case, each talent was a bit touch and go. I realize now that I fell into the “jack of all trades, master of none” category which, in the the end, is a threat to nobody at all. But, I had a fabulous time in the process!

Mine is a story of a kid who never really quite knew what he wanted to be when he grew up. It’s a story of trying, failing, and trying again to do something of interest in this crazy world. Back then, I just wanted to make a mark of some kind. I actually liked having my name appear in the newspapers as it made me visible in some small way. Fame actually terrified me for all that comes with it, but I was happy that I’d managed to make a little spark in the world. I have to admit now that I really didn’t make any sort of global impact, but at the time, there were many people who were happy to see my name appear in the credits of their program. It was probably just a hundred or less, but that, to me, was amazing! The very idea that all of those people thought what I was doing was something worth showing up for made me so happy. I made them feel something and they returned the favor by making me feel something as well. I felt proud. And, I know that pride can come with many pitfalls, but I was just genuinely thrilled that this tiny crowd of people were moved in some way by what I’d created.

Fast forward to today, and little has changed. I still perform each and every day by posting and writing about whatever comes to mind. It’s not in a theatre and no tickets are required to purchase, but it’s very much the same. And, I’ve converted some of my favorite posts into a podcast called Sketching Stuff. And my latest episode entitled “Sketching Food” just launched, so please check it out when you can and leave me your comments! Instead of reading lines that other people wrote, today, I read my own. They may be a bit rambling at times, but sometimes, they just might shine with a bit of truth. It’s quite a feat to figure out what you actually want to be when you grow up. I’m so impressed with people who seem so focused and have found their true calling. My journey has instead been a bit more circuitous. I’m still that little kid who sees a fun path and chases down it giggling like a maniac. This is certainly not an adult-like behavior, to be sure, and that’s why I adore the paths I choose! I continually make my life needlessly complex by stacking more dreams onto it than one life can possibly bear. But, that’s where I get all of my joy. I juggle each thing as best I can, skipping to the next just in time for the following beat in the dance. After all of this time, I realize that I’ve not changed one bit from those tap dancing days.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Vermilion, and Indigo (my “Vintage” Trio! Click Here To Purchase It!). Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with black ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
Tap Dancer Watercolor - Doodlewash

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39 thoughts on “Those Tap Dancing Days

  1. I’m impressed! I always wanted to learn to tap dance, but I couldn’t figure out how to do it without leaving my chair, lol. I also had a hard time knowing what I wanted to be growing up, except that I didn’t want to be a professional artist because that was what everyone told me I was going to be. Nuh uh. Nobody tells me what to do, lol.

    1. Thanks, Sandra! 😃💕hehe… you can tap dance from a chair!! I’ll teach you when we meet one day! And yay for never letting anyone tell you what to do. I think we both on on the track to redefining what it means to be a professional artist. It can take so many turns! 😉

  2. Dont know why, but everything you write,i can relate to.The childhood ambitions, the want of a little fame, the newspaper thing, being a jack of all trades!( In my case janet!),many things that you have mentioned except tap dancing, well,in my case i went for Indian classical dance called Bha- ra-ta- nat- yam.( Syllables for correct pronounciation). I learnt this dance for about 2 years and still wasnt very good,when my interest in it began to fade and i stopped the classes.It is a lovely post that you have written once again,Charlie!

    1. Thanks so much, Purnima! 😃💕Nothing wrong at all with being a Janet of all trades! So fun you tried classical dance. I think life is made of up those wonderful moments of trying… succeeding is a great reward, but it’s the moments of trying that truly define us!

  3. I didn’t think there was much you could write that would really surprise me. Plenty of things I don’t know about you, of course, but no real big jaw dropping surprises. So tap dance instructor gobsmacked me! LOL! And please say it was in an Arthur Murray type situation and you were teaching adults because that’s the picture I have in my head, and it’s delicious. So, when you finally get around to writing your novel, if there isn’t a scene of two set in a dance 💃 studio, I, for one, will be very disappointed! 😁

    1. hehe! I’m so thrilled that after all of this time I can still shock you, Lisa! 😃💕 Yes, I was a tap dance instructor. And it was rather proper and more like Arthur Murray. But at the same time I taught a boy’s street dance class as well. This was all early 90’s and I actually won a choreography competition! hehe

  4. A man of many talents! Wow! I am a two left footer. Hahaha! I love how you have your shadow in your sketch. I am so behind on my sketching. I don’t seem to be finishing anything. (I’m in charge of our challenges this month with my Disney girls and have fallen behind there too.) However, I am still doing a little bit. 😉

    1. Thanks so much, Lori! 😃💕I’m at a least a man who never says No to things and tries them anyway! lol I’m not always good, but I feel good for having given it a shot! And no worries on falling behind… it happens.. but don’t let it become the habit! This from a guy who has crazily shown up everyday for almost 4 years now! 😉 Anything is possible!

      1. I was able to knock out 5 sketches last night once I got past the hurdle that was slowing me down……family memory. Funny how that happens. 🙂 Still behind, but feeling much better about it!

  5. Circuitous routes take us down interesting side roads that perhaps we would have missed by following a straight path. I prefer to think of it as taking the scenic route :-). Love your doodle and especially that shadow.

  6. Charlie says, ” It’s a story of trying, failing, and trying again to do something of interest in this crazy world”

    That sounds like the pathway to contentment and to success.

    I think you just might be the most prolific and diverse artiste that I have had the honor of knowing.
    You constantly amaze with your talents and your zest for doing.

  7. I also find you relatable Charlie. I think that’s the charm that keeps us coming back to read your posts day after day. I too used to tap in my youth, but alas, I don’t think I could get both feet off the ground at the same time anymore!

    1. Thanks my friend! 😃💕 I’m so happy you enjoyed this! Yeah… I haven’t tried tapping in actual shoes, but sometimes, when nobody is around, I try a little time step. It’s not as beautiful as I remember, but I it still feels beautiful every time I DO!

  8. Amazing you were dance instructor for a few years, i like also to watch irish stepdance and i kow Danny Kaye i watch his movies when i was teenager and of course i like you doodle of tapdancing .

    1. Thanks so much, June! 😃💕That’s such a sweet thing to hear. Some days, I truly just feel crazy. But my heart doesn’t let me rest. I figure my tombstone will read, “Well… he tried a lot of stuff” hehe

  9. Now I can understand why you sound like a movie star when you read your own blog posts in your podcasts…..After all those talents of acting, dancing and singing has helped you …maybe indirectly….

    1. Thank you so much, Anita! 😃💕That’s so sweet of you to say! I do think it’s helped me in many ways. The weird bit in all of it is that I’m quite shy actually. I did those things to help me break out of that a bit. But it’s still a clever kind of hiding, becoming a different character, so it didn’t help with the shyness, but it gave me a world of knowledge in empathy.

  10. Wow! Tap dancing has always amaized me. I seem to be too heavy on my feet for it. I remember the days when to work in Hollywood you had to be able to sing and dance and act. So much tallent back then.

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