The Lost Shoe
Elita Sohmer Clayman
Ethan, Ava and their parents (my son, daughter-in-law and
two youngest grandchildren) came from Northern Virginia to
visit us. It was the first time Ethan age almost three and
half and Ava sixteen months came to Grammie and Grandpa’s
home. It is a long trip to come here and finally they made
Grammie and Grandpa cleaned and dusted and swiffered the
whole home to ready themselves for this momentous occasion.
They were tired from all the housework but were so eager to
have the grandchildren make an appearance in their home.
After Ethan was here for an hour or so, he said “I like
being here.” That warmed Grammie’s heart. He played around,
ran around and had fun. Grammie never said the word do not
or no when he touched her little ornaments or china. She had
not taken anything away to put out of little children’s
hands because Ethan and Ava are well behaved.
There was a little china ornamental blue and white shoe on a
table in the entrance foyer.
Ethan looked at it and said “that is a lost shoe.” How
perceptive of him thinking it was a real shoe once and now
it was misplaced. I got to thinking about the lost shoe and
surely thought here is a good theme for a dance article. So
Many times in our lives we may feel ‘lost.’ The meaning lost
can be misplaced, missing or even lost in thought. Lost in
thought is sometimes what we have happen to us. We think
about something too much or not enough and we feel we have
lost something. Many of us dancers
think about stopping our dancing because it is too
expensive, too time consuming and too much thought goes into
it. We could possibly not have time for all the necessary
thinking dancing entices us to accomplish.
The first night way back in November, 1977 that we took our
first serious ballroom dance lesson was quite different from
what I expected when I thought about it that day before we
got to the studio. I speculated that it would be fun, it
would be different and it would be interesting. I never
realized how much work went into learning new steps, new arm
movements, smiling when dancing or even standing up
straighter with our posture.
We took a little spiral notebook and after the class, my
husband tried to remember to write down some little points
we had learned. Then we went to a nice restaurant that we
frequented often and were quite proud of ourselves for
getting through it and still smiling.
We left the restaurant and went to a record store to buy
some dance records so we could practice to dance music
before the next week’s lesson. In those days, there were no
CD’S, no DVD’s and no Videos. They were ordinary large
records and we found a whole section for dance music. We
purchased about four of them and the next night we played
them and tried to remember what we had learned. Our little
Pekingese doggie named appropriately Rhumba hid under the
sofa thinking what was wrong with these people.
We were told we should try to purchase suede soled shoes for
better and safer dancing. So I had heard about a dance shoe
place in Virginia named Amber Dance Shoes. There was no
internet in those days to view the pictures of the shoes. I
called the owner and she said she would send me out a
brochure to see the types of shoes available.
She did and that was the beginning of me ordering many dance
shoes in various colors, heights, comfort styles etc.From
high heeled silver and gold shoes, some with sequins and
stones to others with flat and plain heels and leather
material. When I wore my high heeled ones I felt like my
favorite female dancer known to me then-Ginger Rogers. Even
my husband ordered a pair and he would not admit it but I
know he felt a bit like Fred Astaire when he wore them.
So Ethan thinking the china ornament was a lost shoe
reminded me of our first dance shoes. Sometimes when we take
a lesson, we find it hard to comprehend what we learned. We
may feel lost and think why I am putting myself through
this. For what?
Then our sensibilities take over and we realize we are not
lost, we are found. We have found something so fantastic
that our journey has just begun in this dance life.
Journey it is and the word journey also means voyage and
adventure. That it is and more than one can ever fathom. A
trip so complex, so wonderful, so awesome and so very
delightful. I hear people say that dancing probably saved
their sanity and even their physical life.
By that they mean that they were just about to develop some
physical ailments, some minor and some more complex and when
they decided to try ballroom dancing, many of the mental
symptoms vanished. The reason being because they became
occupied with something out of the realm of illness and
therefore focused more on positive happenings.
They did not concentrate on not feeling well and therefore
balanced their life with more positive feelings.
All psychologists will vouch for positive thinking being a
force so dynamic that it sometimes out weighs negative
thoughts and negative happenings. When we are more positive
it is said our health improves. That is not to imply that
illness can be cured by positive thinking alone, we still
need our professional medical help and sometimes medicines
but that positive feelings do override negative views.
Now if you are in a car accident like we were this past 2008
year, positive cannot help the ailing knees or back or
contusions but it can get you on a faster journey to
Ballroom dancing no matter where you perform it will enhance
your life to such high altitudes that you will wonder how
you lived without it all these years.
As the years roll by and you excel and advance in ballroom
dancing your life will be fuller and richer than you could
I have a home full of ballroom dance objects. If my home was
ever written up in a decorating column in the local
newspaper, the theme would be Dance and more dance.
The walls are decked out with photos of me dancing in
showcases, of letters and tributes about dance and
professional paintings of dance. My shelves are full of
Lladro figurines in lots of dance positions. They are ballet
figurines, Tango figurines and couple dance figurines.
Anything that shows any kind of dance gets purchased by me.
You could say I am obsessively caught up in the circumstance
of the movement of feet, arms and soul.
In a former article I spoke of dancing for the meat bones at
the local butcher shop when I was a wee little girl. Now I
am a senior and dancing is the meat of my life. This meat
has no cholesterol, no fat, no grease, and no sugar. It is
full of the flavor of creation of movement within in the
body and within in the soul. It increases the flow of
thought in the brain and helps one to cope with daily
adversities and sadness. It increases the desire
of accomplishment in life and as we age we need goals to
To learn is to get high without drugs, alcohol or spending
money on frivolous items.
To achieve in a sport or hobby called ballroom dancing at
any age is as Shakespeare said about something else that it
was a ‘gift in thy brain.’
To ballroom dance is an endowment of genius, quality, talent
and aptitude. We endorse this with all of our heart and we
want everyone who wishes to dance to try it and to savor the
responses they will get in their life.
As little Ethan, my number three grandson said this is a
lost shoe, but only if we let it be lost to us. We take that
shoe and put it on and dance the days and evenings away and
it becomes a gift in thy brain.
You can email Elita at firstname.lastname@example.org