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“You’re late,” I said, “Now you get stuck with me.” If the smirk on my face was any indication of the next two weeks, he knew he was going to be in for a wild ride. I’m Hadassah Cohen, one of the most renowned choreographers of the decade and my time is precious. You will be the fly on the walls of my life so no comments or snickering. “I guess you’re Kalem. Stretch and let’s go. I hate late people.”
“I was just trying to find the studio. I mean it is one minute,” said Kalem. I laughed. Obviously he didn’t understand the value of a minute in this business.
“One minute. One minute. In one minute you could have just ruined your chance for a Tony. So you’re stretched. Let’s get Kalem caught up.” I announced to my studio full of dancers. In the room there was Josh, one of the greatest dancers I have ever worked with, Elaine, she literally makes you cry with the way she moves her body, Darian, best thing to hit the hardwood, Whitney, she is my best friend and competitor, Kalem, a good dancer but has so much to learn, and me. That was kind of long-winded. We were all preparing for the greatest interpretive/ Latin/ ballroom dance competition ever and Kalem had the audacity to be late. As the other dancers were catching him up on the group portion of the performance I realized something awesome. He could be—with his lateness and everything our greatest asset. When I went to dance with him our bodies became one. We had perfect chemistry and I became fiercely divine.
See fiercely divine is not just adjectives strung together; it is the definition of perfection. When I am fiercely divine I am graceful yet raunchy. I am beautiful yet ugly. I have attained perfect balance between my body and someone else’s. That is fiercely divine. As our bodies were moving to “Nature” by India.arie, I felt so connected to Kalem. In the competition where we were competing being connected to your partner is a must.
As the week went on I found that Kalem understood my time and we were perfect for each other and not just on the dance floor. He just truly understood me but enough about that back to our dancing. Kalem and I grew as dance partners and everything was going great—well almost everything.
Kalem and I had great chemistry, but he didn’t exactly fit the way I danced. Kalem was a ballet to hip-hop convert. He was a little too chivalrous or a little to street. He didn’t find the balance that was in my dance. After three days of trying to get the synchronized hip wave he quit. But that wasn’t all he disagreed with me artistically. I wanted a golden light arrangement; he wanted reds. I wanted our costume to be more flowing and eccentric; he wanted a more jeansy sort of outfit. I wanted us to start on stage; he wanted an entrance. All these differences took a toll on our partnership. It was starting to wear down the chemistry. So like I said he quit. He left me, the glorious Hadassah Cohen, to find my own dance partner: three days before the competition. I was so furious. I hadn’t planned on his quitting and no one else knew our dance. Our dance; I had worked so hard for. I had made it tailored to his body and now he left me.
As I began to find a dance partner with dire need, I found that there were a lot of good guys. A lot of great dancers, but none of them had the chemistry. Finally I settled for a guy named Rumel. He was a great dancer but didn’t have the chemistry that would have sealed the competition.
“Well time for presentations. This is the last showing before the dress rehearsal and now we will critique each other.” I announced to a groggy-eyed audience of dancers. The first couple was Whitney and Darien. They did wonderful but we still needed the dress rehearsal to see if the feather would work, long story. As they went to argue about some partner issue I watched the next group of Josh and Elaine begin to dance. Rumel was looking nervous but I didn’t worry. “Gorgeous dancing, on the spins you need to work on the sync. It’s not looking great.” I explained to the couple who looked like they just wanted to be released from prison. When Whitney and Darian came back over Rumel and I began to dance. We moved beautifully. From the look of our bodies you would have thought we were in love. The point I was trying to make. Although we didn’t dance like Kalem and I, we were awesome.
“Hadassah,” Rumel said with a drag yet a smile.
I realized the smile and asked “ So this is the part where we celebrate the fact that we are ready as studio and you have learned a Cohen dance—and perfected it—in less than three days.”
“No, this is where I kiss you.”
“I don’t think so. We are dance partners nothing more.” The look of disappointment on his face was heartbreaking. He then took me by the hand and we danced. We simply danced. I didn’t feel violated or hurt, but I felt I had a friend in Rumel.
The day had come. We had made it to the competition. The adrenaline was flowing and we were getting geared up to rehearse the group dance. We did great and worked out some spacing. Rumel and I were getting ready for our dance. I was beautiful in my linen dress. It flowed with and danced with me. I then heard a knock on my door. It was Kalem. I stood outside my dressing room, wondering what he was doing here after abandoning me. I looked at him with utter disdain.
“I wanted to apologize.” I looked at him. He was wearing the outfit I had planned. “I wanted to say I was sorry. I was wrong and I was sorry. I left you and my responsibilities. I also left some loose ends.” He looked down.
I wanted to say forget it and I have to go, but something in me made me say “And what were the loose ends?”
“What I feel about you,” he paused, “what I feel about you.” He reached out to touch me. I let him. It felt so right and I couldn’t push him away. Rumel saw us and he called me over. I went over to him and he said that since my true dance partner was here he would inform the host and get a seat. Kalem came and stood behind me. I faced him not hearing the host announce us as a couple. He pulled me close and kissed me, not just any kiss. I felt the lights on my skin and his body heat enclose me. I am graceful yet raunchy. I am beautiful yet ugly. I felt so one with him before we even danced. I felt—within the utmost of my being—fiercely divine.