Mary Helen Miller

About A Dancing Life

Margaret Rogers and class

Margaret Rogers and class

Producing this story on Margaret Rogers, a 91-year-old tap dance teacher, was a delight. I heard about Margaret from one of her tap students, so I went to the Friday afternoon lesson at the senior center to meet her and see her teach. Margaret was a fabulous teacher, and the “girls,” as Margaret calls the seniors in her class, were having a ball.

Margaret gives private lessons in her home to one other student, Horace. I knew a scene with Margaret and Horace would be important in the story. It would give a good glimpse of how she interacts, one on one, with a student. It also would show how a long-time student related to her. I expected to see some chemistry, and I did.

My biggest technical challenge with the story had to do with music. I gathered most of my tape at dance lessons, so music was usually on in the background. It was tricky to edit the dialogue that was spoken over dance music. But, I worked with what I had, and the music ended up making the piece itself dance a little more.

Mary Helen Miller photo

Mary Helen Miller

About Mary Helen Miller

Before learning to make radio at the Transom Story Workshop, I was working in print journalism. I wrote stories for the Christian Science Monitor and The Chronicle of Higher Education during internships. I also co-wrote a series of investigative articles for The Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting about Maine’s pre-trial bail system. I graduated from Bowdoin College in 2009, and I’m a Tennessee native.

Mary Helen is a member of AIR.

You can hear more of Mary Helen’s work on PRX.

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