Dancing at LaRue

Letter From Wisconsin

The stars of the dance floor, a bantam couple, whirl to the "EE-II-EE-II-OO Polka," a tune that would be obscure to almost anybody but the Mellotones. Their feet, tiny to start with, push each between the other's with the precision of a sewing-machine needle working a button foot. Around and around they twirl, not with the elephantine steps of others on the floor, but with an effortless grace refined through long practice.

They might be 60, but barely. His tight jeans reveal legs no bigger than the driveshaft from a '67 Buick Electra (less than four inches in diameter). His scruffy beard is mostly white, but the red cap pulled tight over his forehead reveals neither baldness nor a full head of hair. He does have a little potbelly pushing up over his belt, but his is hardly the only one in this crowd: All the good male dancers over 30 have a little bulge. It doesn't slow them much.

His dance partner is swathed in dark leggings, maybe olive, maybe charcoal — it's impossible to tell in the uncertain light spilling off the bandstand and over the dance floor. She sports a ruffled blouse and a hairstyle that was long out of fashion before it was pinned up. Her face is commonplace and unremarkable, at least to us. She is happy, content to be dancing. His face is a mask, looking like the early stages of Parkinson's, but more likely trained not to reveal the joy that his feet cannot conceal. Men...

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