"Love of My Life"

At the age of 5 I was introduced to the love of my life. I didn’t know then but dance would become the love of my life. Not an ordinary love like husband and wife, but still real within itself. As a child dance gave me a feeling of accomplishment and responsibility. I was producing something of my own and I couldn’t dare live without that beautiful feeling. Who’d have thought that one experience would have me addicted for the rest of my life, to the point where I stopped dancing for a period, but I was lost without it. Of course anyone would tell you that if it’s an addiction, then it’s not true love. But I beg to differ. I didn’t know I was in love until a few years prior to me writing this memoir. It was a recital in which I worked my tail off to produce excellence. The studio I danced with was coming up on its 25th Anniversary of existence. When I think about my experience, I can’t help but giggle and smile and get all will- nilly in the head, because dance is mine. All mine. Because it is my love; my first love; and no one could take that from me. You always remember your first right? Well I haven’t forgotten it, and it hasn’t forgotten me. We’ve had our good times, and like a vulnerable puppy, it’ll always be home.

Dance starts when school starts: September. So from September to June dancers and their instructors are rigorously assembling dances for the audience to see at the recital. During that year in 2009, in that basement of that studio, there was literally nothing less than blood sweat and tears. We had to be whipped into shape if the audience was to love us during the excessive 4 shows we were to perform. I can recall a dance entitled “Hosanna” we were assigned for the recital that had been performed several years prior, that had been a crowd pleaser. It was rough however we got through it, one way or another.

The instructors were mean. Barking at us inhumanely to: “Streeeeeetch!!!!” or “Point your toes!!!!”, or demonstrating on us, over exaggerated ways to perform a certain step. Literally and figuratively breaking our backs to gain perfection, we were bruised, and most times left in tears because of the harsh realities of dance. Going so hard in fear of not going hard enough. Shoes, pens, binders, Cd cases, sticks, and anything else in reach were thrown whenever a mistake was made. We were called out our names, made feel minuscule as a flea, and physically chastised by this “Hosanna” dance. I thought often “isn’t it supposed to be a gospel dance?” But brilliant minds in charge had the power, and if we were to rebel it’d be nothing less than excruciating. Having to run endless laps, or hold a center split, or even getting sat on. We banned together in pursuits of a beautiful dance, and a practice free of the regular pain experienced twice a week, for 3 hours straight. I wasn’t able to understand it then, but, these teachers were instilling values of strict discipline in us. But that’s beside the point. Love hurts, and it wasn’t until the recital that I understood. That it takes a lot of work to fall in love.

It was finally the moment of truth, my class and I were out on stage dancing. I was tired and desired to give up. But like a miracle and I kid you not, the movement just began to happen and as I got my second wind. It was amazing that the thing I dreaded became more and more enjoyable as the minutes rolled on. I felt so good out there, with the spotlight on me, and my dress flowing to the music, I felt as if it were just me, myself, and dance. Out there enjoying, and at the end of the music, I found myself wanting more and more. Because those five minutes weren’t fulfillment, they were a tease. I wanted more. But the show was over now. I felt good and bad at the same time. Dreamy yet angry. Beautiful, yet not beautiful enough. That recital showed me my love. And from then on I’ve been in a close relationship with it. Seeing it twice a week, just to keep it company. Dance is my love . Love is my dance. The rhythm of life.





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