Once upon a time, before I became a fairly uninspiring history coach here at the Payson, I was an even more uninspiring dancer at the B.Y. (Actually, using the word “dancer” might be a little generous, let’s just say I was in some dance classes). Now lest you be misled at this point and create the wrong, and consequently, very disturbing mental image, I should clarify that I was not a ballroom dancer, nor was I involved in the modern dance nor ballet scene. Nope, I was in fact a folk dancer (which still might be slightly disturbing to some, but what do you do).
Anyway, in my futile attempt to learn how to dance, I was lucky enough to take some pretty great dance classes, and also to have some pretty awesome dance instructors. While attending the B.Y. I’m pretty sure my dance classes were one of the best parts of my university experience and the teachers of those classes were one of the major reasons why.
One of those instructors was a lady named Delynne Peay. I had her class five different times and loved every one of those classes (except the Spanish dance class, I really, really hated that one). Here are ten things you should know about Delynne:
1. Of all my instructors, Delynne was my favorite. Sorry Tara, Jeannette, Ed, Vickie, and Colleen, but if I had to name one of my children after one of my folk dance instructors, her (or his) name would definitely be Delynne (I mean, it would probably be the middle name, but still).
2. One of goals in life was to have Delynne tell me I needed to eat more salad. She never did, but I’m thinking maybe she would now.
3. I, and by extension my ankles, will be forever grateful that she never made me dance Tinikling.
4. On the flip side, I am still upset that she made me dance Puerto Rican (and I’m pretty sure some of those elementary school students still carry the mental scars of having to watch me try and shimmy).
5. Not only was I in her class five times, but two of those times she specifically chose to have me in her class/performing group. I’ll tell you, it takes a special person to choose to have the worst dancer on the planet in a performing group. It’s one thing to have someone as uncoordinated as me confined to a classroom, it’s quite another to have to take me out in public.
6. On my Most Influential People Of All Time Who Are Not In My Family list (MIPOATWANIMF for short), she’s definitely in the top seven, maybe even top five.
7. One time, in an attempt jump start my non-existent dating life, in the middle of one of our dances at an elementary school, she held up a sign which read, “Skinny, look at the teacher in third row. NO RING!” Naturally I didn’t get up enough courage to even talk to that teacher after the show (she was not ugly by the way), but I was grateful for the attempt.
8. For two straight years, Delynne and I drove up to Idaho Falls (a fairly long drive I’ll have you know) to teach about 7.5 people some recreational folk dances. I hope when I’m in my 50s, I’ll still show that kind of passion for the subject I teach.
9. Even though she had a pretty strict policy of sticking to the costume guidelines, I’m still grateful that she didn’t fire me after I danced High School Musical in lederhosen.10. Delynne Peay passed away on January 13, 2014. A wise person once said, “Heaven becomes closer as those we love go there.”