So here we are, one month to go, and things are heating up. Or I wish they were heating up. My feet still feel like lead weights as I learn my routine. I played the music I am dancing to over the phone for my boss, John Shuff. “You can’t dance to that,” he said. “Tell them you want a Barry Manilow song. Like Copacabana.”

“My boss thinks I should have a Barry Manilow song.” I said hopefully to my dance partner and instructor, James Brann (far left, with smirk).

“No.” he said. That was all. No.

He says I am where I should be. I asked him if I was at least better than the others, even if it meant lying.

“I can’t say that,” he said. Which in dance-speak translates to “Never quit your day job and let’s just get through this without a major disaster.”

Last night Dardano showed up for his practice, freshly back from Vegas and Australia, slipping on his two-toned dancing shoes.

“You have to be fearless,” he said, as he flexed a little in anticipation. “You are the one with the balls to be up there.”

I got what he meant.

I haven’t seen the others lately and I wonder, dear diary, if they are as nervous as I am. I think they are mostly having fun with this, given they appear to be way more well adjusted than I am. I am the Woody Allen of the bunch, the one who equates death with missing a cha-cha step.

Speaking of death, Fotis The Terrible is back in the picture although he is not killing me these days as much as making me work hard. I think I might join his gym, Michael’s Body Scenes, when this is all over. Either it’s a Patty Hearst thing, or I am really digging working out again.

At any rate, summer continues to roll out and I am dancing and weight lifting through it. I do not look one pound lighter but who cares. There are people helping me, one-on-one, and I am more grateful for that than they know. This week, here’s to James Brann and Fotis Papamichael and all the other great teachers in our lives.

They have their work cut out for them.