Florence Shapero’s Dancing School RSS

Florence Shapero’s Dancing School

17 April, 2017: Florence Shapero’s Dancing School


by Linda Goodman Robiner
Florence Shapero’s Dancing School
Florence Shapero must be eighty.
She keeps the beat with castanets.
Her sister sits at the grand piano
in the ballroom on Chester Avenue.
Head high, Miss Shapero demonstrates
the turning box step.
I stand in the middle of a row of girls
in a green velvet dress, white gloves.
My first stockings, hinged to garters,
ripple down my skinny legs.
Without glasses, the boys are a blur
till they move forward in a wave.
I hold my breath, feel my face warm.
A boy with a shadow above his lip
approaches, wipes his palms
on his navy blue wool jacket,
and, voice cracking, Gary Kane pulls me
onto the enormous dance floor.
“Florence Shapero’s Dancing School” by Linda Goodman Robiner, from Cleveland in Prose and Poetry. League Books, 2005. Used by permission of the author.
Linda Goodman Robiner’s chapbook, Reverse Fairy Tale, traces the end of a marriage. Her poetry has generated art, been set to music, been included on a CD and a calendar and been published in numerous literary magazines and anthologies. Recently three poems appeared in How Higher Education Feels. Robiner has taught at five Ohio colleges and produced arts programming for public television. She holds degrees from the University of Michigan and John Carroll University. Robiner is a member of Take Nine and Night Vision poetry groups. She coaches writers, edits manuscripts and facilitates writing workshops.


Write a poem about a dance fad. Wikipedia lists more than 90 dance fads: as old as the hokey pokey, as 1960s as the twist, as bad as the line dance to “Achy Breaky Heart” and as 21st century as “Gangnam Style.” Surely you can find one you can write about – even if you can’t dance.

Now here’s a dance we can all do.
It’s not a do-si-do so pay attention. You
Raise your arms high up outstretched,
Raise them upwards, yep that’s best.
Make a “Y” you know you can.
Now listen up here’s the next plan
Bend your elbows, but don’t drop your arms,
Make your fingertips meet in an “M.” No harm
Was done don’t you know, now swing your arms
To the left. Raise them up, make a “C”, that was great
Now one more letter. Don’t be late.
Hold your arms high above your head again,
Make an “A” now you are done, my friend.
4/21/2017 4:47:26 PM

Chantelle Brady
Intro to Dance

Jazz is upitty and cool
Jazz square, barrel roll
grounded but up high
in the air am I and I believe
I can fly. Fast beats,
ballet moves too,
and ... That famous
move that mixes it up
called the Charleston.
That's my favorite.
It's confusing at first,
when you're learning,
but it's actually quite...
easy and fun!
4/20/2017 4:04:32 PM

Fad of my senior year
Danced by all with no fear
One hit wonder
2 old guys with
dancing chicks

Which hand went where?
Shoulder first, or was it hip
Wiggle 'round but no dip
Ev'ry wedding, ev'ry club
Could not get enough

Two decades later
we still remember
Not the chorus, just the chant
Hey Mararena! A'ight!
4/17/2017 9:36:19 PM

Tammy L Currier
The Dance Card

In my Renaissance,
I took a Minuet
to mince forward and back
slipped the partner
to Allemande
then side-stepped into a Schottische
turned Bach
only to Mazurka my way
down the list
until I was Waltzing
utterly and gloriously
4/17/2017 4:25:57 PM

READ + WRITE: 30 Days of Poetry is a collaboration between Cuyahoga County Public Library and poet Diane Kendig. Our thanks go to Diane and the poets of Northeast Ohio who allowed us to share their poetry.