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That gorilla sure can dance

Jamie Lusch / Mail Tribune Tatyana Dalton, 15, strikes a pose at Pfaff Park in Central Point on Friday. Dalton will be delivering dancing Gorilla 'grams' on Valentine’s Day.

CENTRAL POINT — If you see a gorilla wearing a heart-covered headband and dancing a jig with an armful of roses, don’t call for help from Fish & Wildlife and don’t be alarmed.

Groovy the Gorilla means no harm and intends only to dance — choose hip-hop or jazz — in exchange for some cold hard cash.

Show her the Benjamins, baby!

Planning to fund her passion for dance by posing as a jazz-loving primate, 15-year-old Tatyana Dalton created her own unlikely alter ego, Groovy the Gorilla.

In what could become a Valentine’s tradition — er, dance tuition fund — Groovy Gorilla Grams could be the best deal in town this Valentine’s Day.

https://content.jwplatform.com/videos/MRXrbmP4-SdqvUcKy.mp4

Woo or amuse your loved ones — friends, family or even an unsuspecting acquaintance — with a greeting from the cheerfully clad primate.

A longtime dancer, Tatyana will deliver a hip-hop or jazz dance performance to the address of your choosing. Imagine a hairy gorilla knocking on your door, ready to deliver a dance performance intended just for you.

A basic greeting and quick dance with a small chocolate treat is $20. Add a flower for $5 more.

Photos and video of Groovy can be found on the Gorilla Gram Facebook page, including images of Groovy in some beautiful Rogue Valley scenery, donning a red leisure suit with plenty of chest hair exposed.

Easing her way into a little dancing side hustle, the teen, who admits she’s not one for the limelight, came up with the idea on a whim while chatting with her mom.

“We were driving in the car, and I guess we were just thinking of ways I could raise money for dance and some ideas popped into my head, and we kind of kept coming up with different things and figuring out ways to make it our own,” said the teen.

Her mom, Krystina Dalton, said she remembered a fun gorilla gram idea, and other costume-clad door-greeters, from years ago.

“I remembered somebody doing it back when I was a teenager or young adult. She liked the idea that the gorilla costume would hide her face,” said the mom.

Indeed, mom and daughter agree nobody would guess, without being clued in advance, that an excited, dancing gorilla on their doorstep would be a somewhat introverted 15-year-old girl.

“She doesn’t really want people to know who she is, and I think the gorilla suit helps her feel like she can be a little more crazy,” she added.

“It’s kind of like a mascot for a school. Nobody really knows who you are.”

Laughing when asked about her fledgling messenger business, Tatyana said she was able to get her first performance jitters out of her system with her first Groovy the Gorilla gig earlier this week.

“I got hired for a birthday party dance. I was nervous before, but since I did that one, I feel more excited now than nervous.”

A student at Panache Dance Company, Tatyana delivered her first dance-o-gram at another dance school.

“It was fun. Everyone was trying to guess who she was, thinking she might be a teacher from the other studio,” said Krystina Dalton.

With two-dozen bookings already confirmed, Tatyana said the requests are as varied as styles of dance.

The reasons for hiring a gorilla on Valentine’s Day, too, run the gamut.

“Most people want to either embarrass their friends or husbands at work. Most of it’s been for the laugh. A few people are sending to their little kids,” she said. “It’s just really fun, and I think it’ll just make people smile. It’s just something kind of different.”

In addition to a dance greeting, recipients will receive a written greeting from the sender. Customers can visit Groovy on Facebook to schedule a Gorilla Gram.

Tatyana surmised that her friends would likely be as amused as most of her recipients to find out she’d be turning herself into a gorilla for Cupid’s big day Monday.

“Honestly, I haven’t told any of my friends yet. Not a single one. I think one of my friends overheard someone saying it, but I didn’t divulge much about it,” she said.

“I’m usually quieter until everyone else is being funny. I usually like to sit back and watch them be goofy and then join in occasionally, so I’m not the one that draws attention to myself very often,” she said.

“I think people who know me will be surprised if they find out that I’m the dancing gorilla.”

To schedule a Gorilla Gram, visit online, www.facebook.com/Groovy-Gorilla-Gram-100380442540298

Reach freelance writer Buffy Pollock at buffyp76@yahoo.com.