Tall Ladies

One of the fifth graders in my Beasley Elementary classes is very tall. Emerald is only one inch shorter than me, towering above her classmates at 5'9". She said that she couldn't do "this kind of dance" (salsa at the time) because she is way too tall for any of the boys to partner her.

I have always been "the tall girl" in my dance classes. In my professional dance life, I'm never the one to be partnered, but was always told that I could do a solo, or a different part instead. I've learned to own my height and dance as big and tall as possible. What makes me different is unique and interesting.

Emerald was frustrated. Just as I have been frustrated before. But I let her know, of course the gentlemen can partner you. It's about having fun and breaking down your own expectations, as well as anyone who doubted you can dance with a short guy, or they can dance with you.

Erik, one of the smallest in the class, and one of the best dancers, was standing close to Emerald. I asked him and her if they could demonstrate the entire salsa routine. A couple of kids laughed at the height difference.

They did the entire routine, and rocked it. After that Emerald was the most engaged and excited I have ever seen her.

Dance is a perfect outlet for breaking expectations. The kids are learning that what makes us different doesn't prohibit us, but can make things more interesting.


  1. Go Erik and Emerald! They are like modern-day shorty george and big bea :-)

  2. So glad to hear it! Every time I teach swing I bring up the story of Shorty George and Big Bea- pioneers in the swing dance world whose names we still know almost a century later because they embraced their differences. He was the shortest guy in the room dancing with the tallest lady, and they ROCKED every competition by taking advantage of what other people might have seen as a liability.