For those who were asking, here’s the story behind this picture, and as always, it’s a dance story.
Back in 1981, I met a really nice guy named Benny Draier.
I had started taking the long bus ride into Montreal every Friday night to take tap classes with the wonderful John Stanzel at Les Ballet Jazz de Montreal. John was a very different teacher from my childhood teacher, with more mature dances and amazing technique to share. Benny was finishing University and had just started taking Tap Dancing. He was a natural and we became close friends. When at the studio, we always took up our place at the far left of the studio – always [important fact], close to the huge (& dirty) industrial windows overlooking Ste. Catherine’s Street. Dancing at Les Ballet Jazz was the beginning of an amazing experience that took me to many places.
In 1986, Benny and I decided to form a troupe of dancers and invite them to perform around Montreal. We called ourselves Tapotage and had sweatshirts embroidered with our name. For 5 years, Taotage became a very tight group of tap dancers known around Montreal.
AT MY WEDDING RECEPTION — JANUARY 23rd, 1993
I invited Tapotage to my wedding and asked if they would bring their tap shoes and dance for my guests. I left the planning up to Benny and he created this great story around Tap-Cinderella. Narrated by my good friend Rick Livingstone, Benny dressed up as the Step Mother. There were two step sisters and the rest of Tapotage as back up dancers in full tux outfits. Chris and I sat watching while the dancing and story-telling unfolded. It was wonderful!!
After two guests trying on the “Magic Tap Shoe”, it wasn’t a surprise when they got to me that it fit and I got up to dance. Benny and I adapted our favourite John Stanzel dance called Fair & Square, by Fats Waller to the song Alright, Ok, You Win (I’m in love with you), by Peggy Lee. Tap Dancing at my wedding in my wedding dress was a dream come true.
This dance was the closing to the story of Tap-Cinderella. Happily tapping in my wedding dress when coming towards the end of the dance, Chris suddenly stands up and starts to move away.
WHAT IS GOING ON??
While dancing, I hadn’t noticed that Chris put on a pair of white Tap Shoes. With Benny by his side, he starts to tap dance and the crowd went wild. The picture was taken directly afterwards. Benny is super proud of himself telling me that Chris secretly took a few weeks of tap dancing from him to surprise me. You’ll notice Chris is pointing down at his feet and I’m laughing so much I can’t believe it. You can tell in the background that some of the Tapotage dancers didn’t know what was happening and they’re looking around in disbelief at the reaction from the crowd.
My wedding had so many memorable moments, but this moment just sticks out as amazing. It was just the best wedding gift Benny could have given me.