EDGE OF STEAMBOAT

Making memories that last

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— Beth Bagley-Lewis and Jean Labaree sat in a Steamboat Springs Health and Rec office Tuesday evening reminiscing about days spent dancing in the Depot when they were in their 30s.

Although 30 years has gone by since the beginning of the Steamboat Dance Theatre, an affiliate of the Steamboat Springs Arts Council, the memories come quickly and easily for the women who experienced them.

Lewis and Labaree began dancing with the theater in the early 1980s, and what sticks in their minds is how much fun they had being on stage. And that's what keeps them dancing today.

They giggled and looked through a photo album of dress rehearsals, trying to remember all of the dancers who have come through the theater.

I had a similar experience last weekend when my old girlfriends and I gathered around a kitchen table and discussed various cheer dances we did when we were in middle school. It sounds cheesy, I know, but I don't think I've giggled so hard in all my life. And that in itself was a great memory.

You may never remember the routine or specific song you danced to 10 years ago, but the memories that go into the work, the rehearsals and the sleepovers linger.

These women tried hard to remember specific pieces and who choreographed them. But those details were less important than the memories of the people involved and friendships built.

Lewis said she's now dancing the Argentine tango with a 17-year-old partner. Who the partner is doesn't matter so much as long as he enjoys the dancing as much as she does.

Since the establishment in 1972, a number of dancers have passed through the Steamboat Dance Theatre. Some, like Lewis and Labaree, stick around longer than others.

Listening and watching these women explain why they've stayed and what they've learned through the years, I came to understand that staying was as much about friendship and laughter as it was about dancing.

I hope I never lose that effervescence.

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