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MISS DARLENE’S DANCING SCHOOL by Lynne Sharon Schwartz • Cleaver Magazine
MISS DARLENE’S DANCING SCHOOL by Lynne Sharon Schwartz Miss Darlene, dark, slender, acne-scarred, married next-door Marvin and came to share his basement flat. Upstairs, his mother claimed Miss Darlene had danced with the Rockettes. She opened a dancing school a block away. We girls on the block were conscripted to take lessons, to help support the newly-married couple. We got shiny black patent leather shoes with black ribbons and taps on heels and toes. We danced to East Side, West Side, all around the town. I can still perform the opening bars today, but my lessons ended at a step called the Buffalo, which I never mastered because Miss Darlene’s closed, she got pregnant. That was postwar Brooklyn, known for dullness, before the West Indians came with their bouncy speech and the Jews in drear black coats and uglifying wigs. Pre-chic Brooklyn, before the new colonizers parked their double strollers outside the bookstores and the restaurants serving foods Miss Darlene had never heard of.