As clock during pandemic ticks slowly, Shaare Emeth father-daughter duo become TikTok dancers


By Ellen Futterman, Editor

Lila Goldstein, an eighth grader at Ladue Middle School, loves to dance. Typically, she takes lessons five days a week at Dimensions Dance Studio in Olivette, not far from her home.

But these are not typical times. With orders to stay home to help alleviate the spread of the coronavirus, Lila decided to take her dancing to a new dimension.

“I said to my dad, ‘Would you be up for learning some TikTok dances every day?’” explained Lila, who is the daughter of Rabbi Andrea Goldstein of Congregation Shaare Emeth and Brett Goldstein, an IT support analyst. TikTok is a popular app for short-form videos.

Being the good sport that he is, Brett figured why not. So each evening, Lila teaches him a new, 15-second TikTok dance. The two try to perfectly coordinate their moves. And we’re not talking easy routines — though short in duration, there’s lots of arm and leg movements timed perfectly to whatever music Lila selects. 

Brett says it takes him 15 to 20 minutes to get the choreography down. Then Rabbi Goldstein films the routine for Lila’s TikTok account, before posting to the rabbi’s Facebook page so viewers can watch these “Daddy-Daughter Dances” first thing in the morning.

“When she brought it up, I felt this was an opportunity for her to be embarrassed and delighted — horribly embarrassed but yet just tickled pink about it,” said Brett, who certainly should be nominated for Father of the Year based on his genuine enthusiasm in each video. 

“And look, it’s a new kind of reality,” he added, referring to at-home quarantine. “But what a great way to connect, what a great way to release some tension, what a great way to move around at the end of a day of sitting and working remotely and everyone being in their own little corner. We are having a blast with it.”

Lila concurs, saying all her friends are “obsessed” with the dances, telling her that she’s going to be famous because of them.

Brett isn’t sure about being famous, though he adds: “Wouldn’t the joke be on Lila if I became an influencer?”