Let’s Dance

Lecretia used to take me along to a few dance performances – some of which I didn’t like, but a lot of which I was surprised to find I did. She opened my eyes to the amazing things that were happening here in the dance scene – a world I really had no appreciation of before meeting her. Without her I never would have known about the genius of contemporary New Zealand dance icons like Michael Parmenter, Neil Ieremia, Douglas Wright or Tanemahuta Gray.

Lecretia was a talented dancer herself. She could absolutely crush a night-club dance floor like no one I’d ever seen. Before our visit to Argentina, we did tango lessons and had a lot of fun with it – but with the paralysis beginning to take hold – dancing got more difficult for her to do, and I found myself picking things up more quickly than her. This was a strange reversal of proficiencies for both of us. I still grab Lecretia in a dance hold from time to time when a song we like comes on, but it’s a slow, safe rock from side-to-side now.

Lecretia’s dear friend Jess shares a story of Lecretia being in her dance class in Wellington a few years ago:

I first met Lecretia in the late 90s. I was teaching dance classes at the Wellington Performing Arts Centre (on Allen St, Courtenay Place – THAT long ago…) and she was one of my students.

For some reason I had a lot of lawyers in that class but Lecretia made me the most nervous. Not because she was intimidating at all, because she’s tall, stunningly beautiful, has this grace and elegance about her and to top it off, she’s super down to earth and lovely! That was enough to make me feel rather awkward in my late teens/early 20s as a teacher. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Luckily Lecretia became one of my regulars (or my kids as I would call them). Over the years my confidence as a teacher grew and by the time I moved to Oz in mid 2000s I was proud to say my kids were now my friends.

My best memories, other than watching Lecretia dance would be a lunch we all had in Wellington. It was just after your wedding and Lecretia brought your wedding photos to share with us all. Talk about a beautiful bride…. wow!!!

Another really touching moment was seeing you both in Melbourne a few years ago. I was so humbled that on your holiday you both took the time to catch up with me and mum. Knowing how busy holidays are anyway and considering how much energy it took for Lecretia. That was the best and still fills my heart with love.

I should really mention my mum too. She’s also been a dance student of mine since the 90s and Lecretia and her were dance buddies. That would normally mean pairing up for exercises across the floor and perhaps standing next to each other. But with mum and Lecretia it also meant chatting and giggling through classes and I’ve heard there was some incident involving hats with bells and the two of them getting their heads stuck together?

I’d just like to point out that wasn’t in my class as I would not approve of such shenanigans. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’ve always seen Lecretia as a strong, wahine toa. She’s commanding in the most approachable way. As much as my heart aches for what she is going through I am also so proud to see that she’s still kicking ass and making the world listen to what is important.

  1. Such a lovely story Jess – thank you for sharing.

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