Len Gibson studio, a memorial to my dance teacher…

When Judy Jackson Jordan died at 29(the drunk lawyer who accidently dragged her behind his car-see the Scales of Justice episode for that horrific story), the Toronto scene lost its favorite dance teacher…I was 14, & had been with Judy since maybe the age of 9…
My aunt, who was connected to the dance scene via her daughter who was with the National Ballet of Canada underschool, found Len Gibson dance studio for me…
My mum would drive me to this second story studio, & I would change in a room that doubled as a stage with all the fixtures like skeletons in the corners…
Len would start the class with bar work, & classically it was the bend over position with the flat back that caught my young eyed attention…His muscularity was new to me, & I would stare to get this new Afro jazz position-not bowlegged & splayed with the feet but straight forward…His once green threadbare pants which he alternated with his once maroon threadbare pants, always had worn thin right around his bum hole…(sorry for the graphics, I was 14! lol)…
Once, Len Henry(a young very tall handsome dancer actor)(he was on the Polka Dot Door & I thought he was sooo famous for that!) was doing a 4 step combination with a syncope kick, & Len Gibson made me do it again, to show Len Henry how I was doing it…That was the first time, after so much time(maybe a year), that I thought he thought I was ok…
At the end of the class was when the fun began…Stretching over, we did fabulous rhythmic moves, boom boom boom, & when we all had the combination, he went to the bongo drums & start drumming, & we did a full performance every class of what we had learned…
He was such a good teacher, & so patient, that those class ending performances were everybody doing the combo at the same time, & nobody was missing steps…He made sure nobody was left behind, & would go over each step with someone, to make sure that everybody was included & didn’t feel left out or that they were no good…
I loved Len Gibson & so did everybody else…When I graduated high school, I went to New York, to Sarah Lawrence College, & that was the end of my classes at Len Gibson studio…
I think I saw him once walking in Toronto, but you don’t talk to your dance teacher, you dance with your dance teacher, so, I did not approach…
There is a reverence for these gods that mere mortals do not understand…
Yesterday I took a class called Female Dancehall at The Rosedale Club, taught by a young man from Nuremberg, Germany of all places…( I write that because Dancehall comes from Jamaica as a genre)…
One thing though, Female Dancehall uses twerks & jerks, all hip & butt moves to express its rhythms…
Len Gibson never did any unsafe moves that could hurt your back, hips, spine…He did rhythm, but safely…Hip Hop & apparently this Dancehall genre could learn alot from Len Gibson’s style…Unsafe moves just get dancers hurt…Teachers who play recorded music cannot adapt the pace of the music to the class appropriately, unless the use an RPM or heartbeat adjusting application…This Dancehall class I took was very hard & lots of fun, but my friend left at the first third of the class, because the hip motions were too dangerous for her…The vast difference between the speed of the teaching without music, then we had to perform to the record, meant that the beats were impossible to catch, & everybody was late on their moves…When asked if there were any questions. I said the music was too fast, can you slow it down? No he could not…So the end performance without teacher was more of a rag tag than a company working together in sync…The class was all female, but the male instructor kept saying “You guys”…So many times that finally I said the German word for girl “Madchen”…Please do not call us guys…At the end of the class, he gave us a speech about being women & how proud we should be about that…So why did he continue to cal us guys all through the class, even after I asked him not to right at the beginning?

Len Gibson, I miss you, tears run down my face as I read your biography which I never knew…The internet did not exist when we knew you so early in our lives…

Later, when I began with the Roland & Romaine company, I had become a snob…Though I was a blonde blue eyed white girl, I saw through different eyes…The dancing was white to me, so devoid of soul…Give me the animal Afro-Cuban style Lennie(as we pronounced his name)gave us…Give me bongo drums & not canned music…Give me sweat & honest clothes & not Lululemon spoils…Give me muscles & sinew & not anorexia & pallor…Give me Len Gibson back…

Love Sari (Grove)

http://www.dcd.ca/download/58DCDTheMagazine.pdf Great Downloadable file with pictures and history and family stuff about Len Gibson, look for Thelma & Austin, his siblings…!

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(Biography chatter:from my Author Central page on Amazon-Grove Health Science is a series of 12 books now!) Hi...I'm Sari Grove...Sari sounds like Mary...Grove is the last name I took from my husband, 'cause it is a really nice name, & he was very very good looking, & I married him, & my maiden name, the name I grew up with, was "Slatt", which could be turned into all sorts of unfortunate words, which is why when I was looking for a mate, I sought someone with a cool last name...(I cannot tell you how many totally worthy men I had to ignore due to their last names being unmelodic or otherwise unsuitable...) Grove Canada is a pen name, mostly because when I needed a web address, I could not get Grove.com or even grove.ca, so I just got GroveCanada, due to a serious lack of imagination in that moment...It stuck, so I still use it...I thought this time, if I used Grove Canada as a pen name, that maybe you might look up my blog online, at GroveCanada.ca, & enjoy the freshness of getting information from the horse's mouth, up to the minute, rather than the instant obsoleteness that a book creates...Like a car depreciates as soon as you buy it-a book is old as soon as it is published...For a Virgo perfectionist, this inability to easily update, with a new chapter, with new research, causes me constant worrisome self-abnegating, consternation... I use those dot dot dot things, the etcetera symbol, at the end of my sentences, as a habit-you will always know it is me writing, you will always pause at the end of a sentence to think for a moment, you will remember that poetry is beautiful, & you will take everything I say with a giant grain of Pink Himalayan salt(since the grammatical error will irk you into that state of skepticism)! Love & Hugs, Sari ps. I became a Christian at the age of 21, which may seem like a non sequitur, & though my faith is decent my works may not really do justice to that title-but I thought I'd mention it, since my first name Sari always seems to force an assumption about my background-and though you would be right to assume that it tends to be a Jewish name, you might not be right in assuming that that is what I am going to sound like when I expound on some of my karmic principles or other ethical compasses I have developed...Not that I have done away with my past, it is just I have iced the cake with the new updated version-so if you wrong me, I may just turn the other cheek(New), instead of doing the eye for an eye thing back at you!(old)...

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