Good Morning Sissies,
There’s been allot of talk of late regarding twinkle-toes JJ and his skill as a hoofer. The comments were divided equally in their praise or condemnation in my opinion; nevertheless I intend to resolve this controversy once and for all.
In a brilliant series of misdirection and lies I was able to contact JJ’s sister without our good friend’s knowledge. According to Sis, JJ as a brother was a tyrannical brute imposing his will on his younger sister delighting in her pain. I take this report with a grain of salt because being the eldest of six siblings I’ve been falsely accused of similar would-be atrocities. JJ’s sister was accommodating to say the least and seemed to revel in this opportunity to describe her elder brother’s ‘odd’ behavior. Typically Sis is very quiet and reserved rarely drawing attention to herself so her enthusiasm was a bit puzzling.
My first question was straight to the point. “Did JJ always love to dance, or did he begin hoofing later in life?” “Oh dear Lord…JJ started dancing for his aunts and uncles with loads of neighborhood kids when he was three years old.” “Really?” I replied still not convinced. “I thought you’d be skeptical so I brought a few old photographs for you.” Reaching in her purse she retrieved an old Lippmann plate depicting a 7 year old JJ in ballet shoes and tights posed with arms raised in a simulated pirouette. I’m sure JJ had no idea this photo still had legs. Sis pulled the remaining photos out and laid them in chronological order. I must admit I was not prepared for what I saw.
At twelve JJ left the Boy Scouts much to the chagrin of his father and organized an after school dance club calling themselves “The Highland High Steppers.” Evidently JJ led the club in after-school performances for anyone willing to watch. Sis recalled Sister Hamilton JJ’s homeroom teacher as being very supportive, saying “JJ was as graceful as any boy I’d seen in 24 years of teaching.” This said, there was a dark side to his all consuming desire to dance in that he was bullied and mocked mercilessly.
At sixteen the next photo showed JJ on the high school stage dressed in black tights and a baggy black sweatshirt. According to Sis, JJ opted out (No Mas) of the Junior Prom to instead perform his personal interpretation of “West Side Story” playing both the ‘Jet’s’ and ‘Shark’s leads. When he’d dance the Shark numbers he donned a ‘Zoot Suit’ for authenticity. Unfortunately his singing skills were not on a par with his dancing prowess. Halfway through “Maria” he was heckled and literally run off the stage and then beaten senseless.
The most telling photo and no doubt the saddest captured our own JJ dressed in drag flanked on either side by two other men in drag. They were a part of a USO show in Viet Nam performing Gilbert & Sullivan’s “The Mikado” featuring the number “Three little maids from school.” According to Sis, the performance was so spectacular Bob Hope asked them to return and take another bow!
God…I think I’m going to be sick!
I could go on but I think the two or three of you left reading this Glyndebourne can see where this is going. It’s crystal clear to this observer that JJ was born to dance! His flair for arrangement, his eye for color, and his stunning sense of timing says it all….don’t you think?