Have you ever wished for a place like Cheers? How many people have watched the beloved sitcom and thought, “Man, I wish I had a place to go where everyone knew my name?” Come on, we all have at one point or another in our life.
I have several places in my life where everyone knows my name, but my MOST LOVED and FAVORITE place of all is with my Arthur Murray Fort Worth Family. I started dancing at AMFW back in 2006 a couple of months after they had their grand opening.
There were not many students, but we all got along and the dance teachers made all of us feel wonderful about ourselves and our abilities to dance, or future abilities to dance if you had minimal experience.
I have always dreamed of taking dance lessons, ever since I was a kid of 7 years old and watched Gene Kelly tap across the floor, or Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers dance cheek to cheek in the movie “Top Hat” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NrCsyN-fZ94).
I was in love immediately with dancing and watching the dancers on TV and later in life, on the big screen when I was older. I always asked my parents for lessons but being Seven of Seven in a family with a single income, the answer was no, as it should have been. The Parental Units were doing all they could for their unit of seven children.
I promised myself that when I got older, I was going to take dance lessons and would be the next Ginger Rogers, but like most adults, life got in the way and it never happened until I almost lost my life in 2005 and I was hell-bent on never putting off what I wanted to do anymore.
For a year, I had eyeballed the Arthur Murray Studios in Plano and Dallas, but did not want to make the drive and then one day, I found Arthur Murray Fort Worth had opened up and it was as if a grand halo of shining white light rained down on me and the planets aligned for me to finally see my dream come to fruition…I was so THERE!
I was a broken, half bodied cyborg walking with a slight limp into the studio and met Douglas and Britt, the owners. I watched a demo of all the different dances and levels and signed up for an intro lesson and I was hooked. All the staff at the studio helped shape my broken ugly duckling body into the proverbial swan over the next year.
My body, mind, and soul was purged and renewed and life was beautiful! Then health issues struck. My dreams were halted after a botched gall bladder surgery and I became hit and miss on my lessons and eventually, life events took me away from my haven I found at Arthur Murray. The family I built there were always on my mind and in my heart and I longed to return but was unable.
Years go by, fast forward to 2015, nine years after I started at Arthur Murray, four and a half years since I danced last, and three and a half years since I even stepped foot into the studio. I walked into my home away from home, my haven, my love, my dream, my family yesterday and it was as if I never left. Sure, there were new faces: a LOT of new students, a LOT of new teachers, but there were some of the faces that started with me on my journey so many years ago. People I love, people who love me, even the newbies (to me) knew who I was! I had so many teachers come up to me and say, “YOU”RE the Famous Peggy!” or “Peggy? I know all about you!” It was a great ego stroke for me, a much needed ego stroke with the things I have been dealing with of late, but it made me pause and say, “THIS is my Cheers. This is my place where everyone knows my name.”
That is a good thought to have and you know what, Arthur Murray Fort Worth is still my family in all sense of the word. Time changed nothing and I am so grateful for that!