I Could Have Danced All Night

November 9, 2016 at 10:19 am 2 comments


dirty dancing

Once a dancer, always a dancer. Bear with my while I take a moment to put on my dancing shoes. There, now I am ready to dance up a storm, dance my heart out, and dance circles around anyone who will let me. I am off to my first ballroom dance lesson at Fred Astaire Weston, I am greeted by Alex and Carly, the fabulous, dynamic duo who have danced around the world. Lucky for us Alex and Carly chose The City of Weston to plunk their studio down and take up roots. From the very instant I sashay across the dance floor of the Fred Astaire Dance Studio,  I am  warmly greeted by Carly and Alex, franchise owners, brilliant dancers, and a loving couple. Their warmth and graciousness, talent and enthusiasm solidify my decision to take ballroom lessons. Alex and Carly put the Ball back in Ballroom.  Forty-five minutes later I have learned  how to dance to the Foxtrot, the Rumba, and the Hustle one, two, three. And I feel like I am back home! You see, back in the day, I danced my way through adolescence and adulthood. And today the only difference is my age. I may feel middle-aged on the outside, but my inside has not yet caught on and I hope to keep it that way as long as possible.   After my first  lesson, I’m hooked. Alex is a gifted dancer and teacher. He teaches with patience, flair and the  gift of solid explanation. The steps are new but the movement and mood familiar.  It’s like getting back on a bike. You never quite loose the momentum. 


That momentum began for me as far back as I can remember. My parents encouraged all of us to immerse ourselves in music, dance, theatre, and piano and exposed us to the arts every chance they had. Growing up around my Grandfather’s Baby Grand Piano, which was perched smack in the center of our living room, we gathered often, sang loudly and sometimes off-key. My sister Dale, a gifted Concerto Pianist, couldn’t wait to break away and play Top 40 Hits and Broadway Tunes that were forbidden during her fourteen years of studying and performing Classical music.  I thought  Rogers and Hammerstein were relatives since they seemed to be a part of every party and get-together my parents through.  Sounds pretty corny, but singalongs were an integral part of  life for us and inspired other hidden talents, (of which some should have stayed in hiding!)  While musical theatre resonated with me, I found dancing to be irresistible and took top billing.  My parents always loved to Jitterbug and Charleston. Craving to imitate the dances of their teen years, my Dad took me under his wing and taught me a variety of dances with the enthusiasm and skills of Fred Astaire. My Mom was his Ginger Rogers, though she acted more like Lucille Ball and I Love Lucy! 



Displaying IMG_1232.JPG1948, long before Dating App’s and Tinder existed, blind dates were very popular. That is exactly how my parents met when a  mutual friend fixed them up. If they did have classified ads back in the day, it might read like this… Bobby D: Temple University Boy Studying Radio Broadcasting on the GI Bill. Nickname “Jitterbug Bobby.” A Poet and Romantic who loves to dance. Enjoy Big Bands, Judy Garland, Ping Pong and Movies. Frat Boy.  5’7″ with red hair and freckles. Mickey Rooney look-alike. Heart of Gold.   Adele G:  Nickname “Del.” Somewhat Shy yet Mature for my age. 5’5″ with dark hair and hazel eyes. Friends say I’m loyal and funny. Love to shop, love Sinatra, Martin, Sammy Davis Jr, Steve and Edie. Love Movies. Want to become a Nurse.  One blind date later, a proposal on the second date, followed by a refusal. An engagement six months later and a wedding in 1949. A marriage made in heaven that lasted fifty-five years, stood the test of time, truer, deeper and more devoted than any we have ever witnessed. My parents always knew what mattered most. Us. Their children and grandchildren. We have inherited their love and respect for others, for each other. It seems like yesterday when we were at Brown’s Hotel in the Catskills. I was maybe ten-years-old and I can recall, with such clarity, the times my parents danced in the ballroom. They were always so in  love, but dancing made them seem even more so. Dance can be the most romantic gesture a couple can exchange to show their love. Men who like to dance are a rare find. And those who have one right foot and one left foot ( not two left feet,) are an anomaly. Thirty-four years ago, I had my last first date with the love of my life, my husband Rich. We spent it dancing the night away and we both had a very strong hunch that night, under the chandelier, that the music would never end. Don’t turn the music off and never stop dancing.  




Little girl dancing on Dad's feet Toni Kami ~•❤• Bébé •❤•~ Father & Daughter photography idea

I’ll always treasure dancing with my daddy, especially when I danced on his feet. My daughter Katie followed in my footsteps as she danced on the feet of her Poppy and her Daddy! A beautiful rite of passage, a tradition that will continue with each new generation and one that started generations ago! 


• ginger rogers • fred astaire

Traditions are made to pass along from one generation to another and to be repeated consistently as you desire. In 1947,  (the year before my parents met and fell in love) Fred Astaire, launched his first Fred Astaire Dance Studio Franchise. As an American dancer, singer, actor, choreographer, film and television extraordinaire, Astaire also fell in love. He was in love with  ballroom dancing. And we fell in love with him. Considered to be the greatest multi-talented dancer of all time, Fred Astaire wanted to establish a chain of studios under his tutelage to make sure that his techniques would be preserved and passed on to the public. Fred Astaire was instrumental in the instructional techniques and the choice of dance curriculum that is still used today. A true pioneer, the first Fred Astaire Studio opened on Park Avenue in New York City, where Fred Astaire brought his immense talent out of the glamour of Hollywood and onto the dance floors of America and the world.



Swing Time [DVD]

Fred Astaire’s film and television careers spanned a total of seventy-six  years and is treasured and remembered for his sense of rhythm, originality and his perfectionism. While  dazzling audiences (since the age of five,)  with unmatched choreography, sensational syncopation, and flawless ballroom routines, he was the King of SwingAs far as a more perfect pair, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers fit like a hand in glove. They were iconic dance partners who made nine black and white motion pictures together from 1933–1949.  Made prior to Technicolor filming,  they reflected the colorless times during wartime.   The Barkleys of Broadway, a musical with M-G-M, was Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers only movie produced in Technicolor.  Yet it was inevitable that when Astaire and Rogers hit the dance floor, no matter the technology, we were struck with an indescribable happiness and moved by the magical movements that brought color back to life. 


Displaying IMG_1235.JPG

While dance and music have a profound effect on each of us in a personal way, it is especially important for families and military to have a place to retreat to where the music drowns out any negative thoughts and the chance to dance is ripe. The USO, usually the last stop before shipping out overseas, also provided troops with a place to hang their hats, decompress and reduce the  emotionally and physically strenuous day-to-day events of military duty. At the USO’s Hollywood Canteen,  (1942-1945,) soldiers could dance their cares away!  All the troops needed to do was to show up. In fact their uniform was their ticket. As a World War II veteran and Purple Heart Recipient, my daddy was the  bravest man I’ve ever known. He was an underaged boy who entered the army voluntarily, and came out a man who saw too much.  Prior to his journey to the Philippines, he was sent to California where he discoverd the Hollywood Canteen and our “Jitterbug Bobby,” danced the night away. My dad’s  biggest thrill was when Barbara Stanwyck asked him to dance! He described that moment with boyish enthusiasm and added how his heart was beating out of his chest.

The famous embrace: On 14 August 1944 a sailor and a woman locked lips, but who were they, and when did they kiss? To answer that question, researchers have re-analysed the image (shown). Looking at the clock in the 'O' of 'Bond' on the right, and the shadow on the building top right, they say it happened at 5.51pm

Post war was pieced together with extraordinary reunions, fragmented and broken hearts, a sense of hopefulness in a sea of hopelessness, and a desire to leave the shattered past in the past. Music and dance are not only therapeutic, but can replace any preoccupation and drown out the negative noise in your mind, making room for the noise of the big band sound and the music reflective of that era.


Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers (photo)

 The Master of Dance himself, Astaire mesmerized us growing up. So it’s no surprise that we couldn’t help but fall hard for the multi-genres of Ballroom Dancing. Whether a throw back to the memories of more simpler times, or  the echoing beat of the music, we have become romanticized with the cheek-to-cheek movement, the infectious mood and the costumes.  My favorite movies include, Shall We Dance, Silver Linings Playbook, Save the Last Dance, Center Stage, Dirty Dancing and of course, the countless musicals that graced my childhood and inspired me to “get up and dance!”


Shall we dance pics

From the very instant I sashay across the dance floor of the Fred Astaire Dance Studio, ready for my first lesson,  I am  warmly greeted by Carly and Alex, brilliant dancers, and a loving couple. Their warmth and graciousness, talent and enthusiasm solidify my decision to take ballroom lessons. Alex and Carly put the Ball back in Ballroom.  Forty-five minutes later I have learned  how to dance to the Foxtrot, the Rumba, and the Hustle one, two, three. And I feel like I am back home! My only complaint is that I have to leave after my lesson is over because of a student whose class begins after mine. The nerve. I wanted to dance longer and my lesson flew by so quickly.  The truth of the matter is… I could have danced all night

Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass. It's about learning to dance in the rain. Picture Quote #4  

 Jayne Bonilla is a passionate parent, a children’s advocate, a published author and a motivational speaker. Her greatest qualities are her courage to be herself, her sense of humor and her faith in others.




Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Patti  |  November 9, 2016 at 8:31 pm

    Beautiful memories! Beautifully written, Jayne!

    • 2. jaynebonilla  |  November 10, 2016 at 1:34 pm

      Thank you so much Patti! The memories feel so fresh. Guess that’s the reason I dance through life and dance like nobody’s watching 🙂


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Welcome to my blog!

"It is better to improve than it is to prove"
- Jayne Bonilla

Since the road to success is always under construction, this blog is intended to serve as a visceral compass empowering readers/writers to find their own direction along the way.

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