Money Memories. (Also, Dancing.)

When I was a little girl, probably six or seven, my mother sent me to school every day with my lunch and a quarter to buy milk. At some point, I figured out that if instead of buying milk, I saved my milk money for two days, I could buy an ice cream, which cost 45¢, instead. It was a magnificent discovery. I can’t remember what I did with the extra 5¢, but as I was an arithmetically-inclined and goal-oriented child with clear priorities, I’m guessing that every 9th day, I added that day’s 25¢ to the 20¢ accumulated over the last eight days and used it to buy an ice cream. I wish I could remember where I kept the money. I have a vague memory of a little oval green plastic change purse that opened like a fish’s mouth when you squeezed the edges.

Then one day, one of my sisters caught me eating an ice cream she knew I wasn’t supposed to be eating, and ratted on me. She ratted on me! What a lack of foresight. I’m sure it felt good to rat on me, but not nearly as good as it would have felt if she’d started saving her milk money to buy herself ice cream.

I’m reading a book called Emotional Currency: A Woman’s Guide to Building A Healthy Relationship with Money, by Kate Levinson, who is a psychotherapist. It’s a book that acknowledges something hardly anyone acknowledges: Money is emotional. Our attitudes toward money are deeply tied to our childhood experiences of money, our most complicated relationships, and, most likely, a lot of ingrained habits and unquestioned assumptions we would do well to examine more closely. (So far, I see no reason why this book should be only for women.)


This season of So You Think You Can Dance is flatly (and out of the blue) one of the best seasons ever. I’m so glad someone had the idea for previous contestants to come back as All-Stars, helping, and dancing with, current contestants. When they come back, they’re all grown up, they’re even better dancers, and I’m guessing they’re a lot less stressed out; in a lot of cases, I like them so much more. Even the ones I loved from the start (like Travis, Twitch, Catherine, and PASHA), I like more!

(ETA: Hurrah! Fox has apparently gotten the message and made its videos available on YouTube – and for embedding. I’ve changed the links below so you don’t have to deal with their crappy website, and embedded my favorite dances.)

This season, someone came up with the wonderful idea of an episode in which All-Stars both choreograph for and dance with the contestants. We viewers have gotten used to the stunning choreography of previous contestants Travis Wall (contemporary) and Dmitry Chaplin (ballroom), for example, but what fun to get to watch them dance again, and their own choreography, with current contestants! (Here’s what happens when Mark Kanemura choreographs for himself and others.) Travis was always my favorite contestant the year he competed; what a pleasure to see him dance his own work with current contestant Amy Yakima. (I can’t find a working clip, but Travis and Amy will certainly perform this dance again during the season finale on Tuesday.) (ETA: Yay! Here it is, and I’m embedding it below.)

Dmitry, on the other hand – I couldn’t take Dmitry seriously when he was a contestant (because he was always ripping his shirt off. ALWAYS). How things have changed; Dmitry’s rumba, which he choreographed for and danced with current contestant Hayley Erbert, knocked my socks off. (ETA: And now I’ve embedded it right here.)

I could link to twenty great routines from this season, but since Travis is a favorite of mine, I’ll limit myself to two recent routines choreographed by him, just for fun. First, All-Star Robert Roldan and contestant Tucker Knox, in Travis’s second beautiful routine for two men on this show. (If you only watch one routine, watch this one.) (ETA: Embedded below.)

Second – I’ve been waiting all season for contestants Fik-Shun and Jasmine Harper to dance together, because she is MUCH taller than he is, and the show tends to try to avoid matching tall women with short men. Travis did such a beautiful job choreographing them together in this “underwater” dance. These two contestants have been among my favorites from the beginning, and I have to say, for the world’s most adorable hip-hop dancer, I’m always amazed at the way Fik-Shun can inhabit serious roles. (ETA: The routine embedded here.)

Finally, since this post is already a mess of edits and weird formatting, it seems like a good moment to remind those readers who receive my posts as emails that if you can’t see the videos I’ve embedded, just go to my Blog Actual.