Dance with Me: Ballroom Dancing and the Promise of Instant Intimacy/Julia Ericksen

Saturday, October 15, 2011

My friend Julia Ericksen is seeing the publication of a book on which she has worked for years.  We ballroom dance together, Julia and I, and she was one of the very first people I came to know at DanceSport Academy in Ardmore.  Julia is a professor at Temple University teaching courses on human sexuality, body, and gender.  She's a sprite, a darling and opinionated Brit whose other interests and life journeys have resulted in the publication of Kiss and Tell (Harvard University Press) and Taking Charge of Breast Cancer (University of California Press).  Often, when Julia and I talked, she would tell me about her travels to dance venues all around the world, where she competed (but of course) and at the same time interviewed top dancers and avid amateurs on this art form, or is it a sport? Or a fashion show? Or an odd and spectacular form of yearning?  Or something Beth does when her sentences stick, which is to say, on a very frequent basis?

I don't personally have answers to those questions (or I do have answers, but they change too often to be reliable).  But Julia does, and she's put them all into a book called Dance with Me: Ballroom Dancing and the Promise of Instant Intimacy (New York University Press).  The other day, Julia showed me an early copy, then flipped to a page that looks like this (above).  The caption, Julia says, goes something like this:
Figure 4.3. Learning the foxtrot is fun. Teacher John Larson with student Beth Kephart. DanceSport Academy, Ardmore, PA, July, 2010. ©2010 Jonathan S. Marion.
I never thought I'd be in a book about ballroom dance (though I did imagine writing one once, and did:  House of Dance). But I do fondly remember this rehearsal day and how John was making me laugh so that I would forget the camera. He still makes me laugh, even if (is it something about my posture? my rise? my fall?) the cameras don't come around anymore.

Huge congratulations to Dr. Julia Ericksen (and her dancing husband, Gene). 


David Stanton said...

Great story & photo :-)

Jerry Waxler said...

Thanks, Beth. This looks lovely. I've always loved to dance, but have not pursued it in the particular world of ballroom. Listed on Amazon as "Dance With Me: Ballroom Dancing and the Promise of Instant Intimacy" - it doesn't seem to be a memoir. Is it story-driven? I suppose if she is at the center of it, I could use it for "writing about your favorite topic from personal experience." Life is more fun when it's in stories!

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KFP said...

You look so happy.

And surprise: hello to Jerry, who commented here, and was a panelist at the same writing conference I was yesterday. You follow Beth also! Isn't she wonderful? I just adore her, as a writer and a person.

Jerry Waxler said...

Oh, yes, Kathye. Nice to see you again. I have so much fun at the Philadelphia Stories conference and was sad to miss it this year. In fact, that's the conference where I found out how cool Beth is. We can start a fan club for her here! :)

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