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Living My Dream to Be a Tina Turner Backup Dancer: Everyday Magic, Day 265

Updated: Oct 2, 2023

A few nights ago, I was upstairs in Dewey Dorm at Goddard College with a bunch of new fast friends (fellow faculty), watching a video of Tina Turner and her exquisite back-up dancers singing "Proud Mary."

“Okay, here’s our part,” I called out as the dancers and Tina did those perfect big twirls and then the “do do do do do do do do DO DO DO” bowing down and back up. “Just follow along,” one of us urged, and we tried. Truly.

But after a few twirls, a flood of do do do’s and shimmey down and up, none of us within a mile of being in synch, I had to grab onto the wall to keep from collapsing. “How do they do that?” I asked Tina and her dancers. “And in heels, no less!”

Diana, Marilou, Maike & Me: Almost Tina Turner Backup Singers

Obviously, it was another time and place, they would have won Olympic medals for shimmeying and twirling (had the Olympics been wise enough to have a Tina Turner division), and they were kinda sorta way younger than the four of us — Marilou, Sui Yee, Diana and me — laughing so hard we could barely catch our breaths as we set up the video to do it again.

Now why were we doing this, you might ask? We were rehearsing to perform as the Packettes (Goddard students do five packets of work during a semester) after being introduced by Study Plan (Goddard students first write a study plan at the residency, outlining their packets). The performance itself was magical — Diana is the best Tina Turner I’ve ever seen on the stage of the haybarn (I love it when she says, “We faculty never do anything nice and easy. We do it nice and rough”). And we let it rip when it was the do do do do time in the song, giving it all we had, and even almost moving in synch.

Now that I’m landed back in Kansas, I send big hugs to my fellow Packetteers, who let me live out the dream of being a Tina Turner back-up dancer, and I bow down (while singing do do do do do do) to all Tina Turner’s back-up dancers, and to the goddess herself. Long may she roll.

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