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Dancing at the Studio

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The room is mainly quiet except for the faint twitters of birds outside and the constant muffled rumbles of cars rolling by. I stare blankly ahead at my reflection in the lengthy row of wide mirrors, longing for something to cool me from the thick humid air that always envelopes the studio in the summertime. A nearby window beckons, and I give in. I poke my head out allowing the airy breeze to rustle a few strands of hair that have managed to escape my tight bun, but only for a moment. Soon my teacher will be back and she expects me to be stretched and ready to dance. I sit down on the hard wood surface, my fingers tracing the grooves in the floor as I pull myself forward into a perfect split. With my nose to my knee, the familiar smell of sweat and grime from worn out dance shoes is especially strong, but I take a deep breath and exhale slowly, knowing what that smell means. To me it symbolizes late night practices, repeating steps over and over again until I have finally mastered them, and all the frustrations and joys I’ve experienced through the time I have spent in this studio, and dancing in this room.


The door opens and my teacher walks in, with some difficulty, for her protruding belly that stretches out before her like a balloon about to pop is one of the many unfortunate side effects of being pregnant, along with frequent mood swings. “You ready to go?”, she asks.
“Yes”, I answer confidently.


The music starts and I find myself moving along to the counts, making long strides and leaps, exaggerating every step, stretching my arms to my fingertips, my thighs to my toes, and all the while enduring my teacher shouting out corrections from across the room. “Head up, shoulders down! Use your plie! Watch your arms!” Towards the end of the routine my breathing has quickened and a warm perspiration has broken out along my forehead and is trickling down the side of my face. My mouth is dry and I desperately want water to quench my thirst, but I tell myself it is almost over. Facing forward I have a moment to breathe before prepping for turns a la seconde. The arch in my foot aches in protest as I force it up on releve and extend my leg outward, using it along with my arms to rotate around. I become more aware of the air surrounding me, whipping my face as I turn and stinging my eyes in the process. Finally I am finished. The music has come to an end.


Dying of thirst, feet aching, muscles throbbing and out of breath, yet I couldn’t feel better. I turn around and smile widely as my teacher nods in satisfaction. A great feeling of accomplishment overwhelms me. In this room, with its peculiar smells and its open space to allow freedom of movement, I feel as though I can really come alive and express who I am with more than with just words, I dance.





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