We run out on stage together as “Only In My Dreams” starts up. She is positioned center stage and I am stage left. The crowd is enormous and cheering wildly. I am the envy of every concertgoer there. It feels as if all eyes are on me and I am frozen. I look over at Debbie with big, overwhelmed eyes. She gives me the sweetest smile and a nod. Got it! Okay, Blackman, it’s go time!
I start busting out the running man. HARD. I am giving it all I’ve got, dancing like I never have before. The crowd is going wild and I know it’s because of my stunningly sweet moves. I mean, Debbie is something to cheer about, but I’m like really working it.
After about thirty seconds my running man, I start the Roger Rabbit. Got to keep my moves fresh so my audience doesn’t get bored. After thirty seconds of that, I know I have got to pull another rabbit out of my dance hat, but what? The only freestyle moves my brother taught me have been exhausted. I think fast on my tiny toes and decide to rotate. I hit up the running man again, but this time I move in a counter clockwise direction making a full rotation. I didn’t even know I could do this, but it’s working out. Next, I work the Roger Rabbit into a full rotation. I am totally busting a move and sharply syncopated to a very fast song. It’s some pretty fancy footwork and I am most impressed with myself.
While my back is to the audience, I quickly wipe the sweat from my brow. One of Debbie’s dancers, Buddy Casimano, who is excitedly playing the bongo drums, shouts to me, “Girl, you can DANCE!”
My life has just been made.
At the end of the song, Debbie takes my hand again and whizzes me off the stage. I walk down the stairs and my mom is waiting for me with a huge smile. She wasn’t able to watch me dance, but my excitement is enough to make her the happiest mommy around. I can’t wait to get back to our seats to see what my brother thought.
I am on such a high! As we are escorted back to our seats, people are giving me high fives and telling me how awesome I was up on stage. My fan club is gaining momentum! I do my best to settle down and enjoy the rest of the concert, but adrenaline is still coursing through my veins. I am totally spazzing out inside.
I snap back to reality and I realize that I need to know how I came to be a chosen one in a room full of 17,000 people. I’m guessing that’s why my mother stepped away in the beginning of the concert? She was definitely responsible for this, but how? I had to know.
“How did you get me up on stage, mom?” I shouted over the crowd.
With an emphatic oh-please-like wrist flick she hollers, “Honey, we are rock an roll! I know who to talk to get things done around here”
Indeed, she did know her way around behind the scenes of a concert production. She had been on tour with my father, the former front man for Starbuck, for years before I was born.
“You know that big pit in the middle of the floor with all the guys wearing headsets?
“Well, I went and asked one of them if we could get you on stage to dance with Debbie.”
Ask and you shall receive.
My mom is the coolest.
Riding home from the big city, back to the suburbs and my regular life, I feel a little deflated. The city lights that seem so full of possibility and my newfound fame by proxy to Debbie Gibson, are growing smaller behind me. I look down and notice that a casualty had been made of one of my frosty lilac Lee Press-On Nails. Being the petite perfectionist that I was, I had to remove the survivors. I couldn’t bear one missing nail. They had their moment and so did I. As I peeled off each plastic nail, a small sadness grew in my heart as I realized that the concert and my most perfect moment were over.
But truly, it was exquisite.
I was a third grader who had received praise from a professional dancer while performing with my teenage musical idol. This moment was the pinnacle of my elementary days. Dancing with Debbie and feeling the energy of that crowd shaped me in a huge way. Thus, my path had been paved in glitter. Showbiz for me, it would surely be.
© Sarah Blackman 2015