Found A Story In Order To Fix You

May 14, 2011
I held in the tears so my makeup wouldn’t run. It would have looked kind of cool if my makeup ran during the middle of this particular dance, and it was my last dance, so it wouldn’t have mattered. But I did know that if I did start crying I would have done so loudly. I just held it in.

I stood by the window at the main studio of the dance company I attended. I fashioned a black leotard with crystals, black shorts, tan tights, and bear paws on my feet. I held a plaid men’s shirt. I would be using it for dancing in my dance teacher’s choreographed number to the song ‘Fix You.’ It’s a song written by a man whose friend committed suicide. He wrote this song as a lullaby to his friend. My teacher’s intention was to help anyone in the audience who had lost someone. She would repeat over and over again “Find a story. Make up one or use a personal experience. You could have lost someone, or you may be helping someone with their loss. Whatever you choose, dance it. Then, choose a face in the crowd, and dance your story to them.”

To the normal ear, that wouldn’t make sense. I knew my assignment; I just didn’t know what to choose. At first, I pretended a friend of mine died in a car crash, but that didn’t go so well. The next week of classes, I pretended that I was helping someone, and I was all happy, but that was hard to get into, seeing that the song was so sad. I learned the steps and tempos, but I just couldn’t get into the mood of the song.

I was sitting backstage of the school’s auditorium on the second night of dance recital. I fashioned a teal leotard, black shorts, tan tights, and bear paws. I wore a blue striped men’s shirt.

The dances the night before had gone very well. In tap I had memorized every step, in ballet I think I leapt higher than I ever had before, and in jazz I rocked out! For lyrical, I didn’t feel anything. I was just ‘moving.’ I still had failed to find a story. So there I was, getting ready to perform, trying out a few possible stories to dance about. Finally, I got it. Dance for Aunt Joanne.

My Aunt Joanne had died from cancer the December before recital. I was definitely sad, and I felt a great loss. Well, it was the last time I was ever going to dance to this song, so I decided to try it.

As the number before me finished, I moved to the side of the curtain. I thought of how the funeral had gone. I remembered the pictures from her photo albums, and how a picture from her toddler years looked so much like one of my toddler pictures. I had learned a lot about my Aunt Joanne from the funeral. She was a woman of great faith. Before she had died, she was told by the doctors that she had only a couple of months to live. When she heard that, she started preparing for the funeral. She assigned were families would sit, what songs would be played, and who would speak. Aunt Joanne also wrote a letter to us all. In the letter, she spoke about her friends and family. She also spoke about God. I hadn’t even known she had believed in God so much. Not only did she believe, but she loved Him. “Don’t stop believing in God because I am gone” is what she had written in her letter. And when we were burying her…

I was brought back to reality when the lights came up and the music started. I stepped out, gliding across the stage. Someone yelled my name. I still don’t know who did, but it made me feel better.

‘When you try your best but you don’t succeed,’ the song sang from the stereo as I joined the cannon, a dance done in separate, continually restarting groups, with the rest of the group. From the cannon, the group of fourteen girls went into fan kicks, half turns, and arm movements. The group separated into two lines, and at this point I lost memory.

‘And the tears start streaming down your face.’ I remember nothing. I know I was dancing, I just don’t remember having to think about the steps. Except for thinking about my aunt, it was all a blur. Then, the tears really did start to stream.

‘Lights will guide you home.’ Behind and next to me, I heard multiple noses sniffle. I found a face in the crowd; a middle age blonde women watching us intently. I looked at her, and through my dancing I told her about my aunt and what had happened to her, and that God really was there to take her home. I danced as if I was saying a prayer.

We moved into our clump. Every girl was crying. Two girls fell back into the clump, and the others picked them up to symbolize people helping with someone else’s struggles. Next, we moved back into our two lines to start partnering. My big sister and I were partners. She saw the tears that lay in my eyes, and gave me a reassuring smile. After we finished partnering (two dancers dancing together), six girls and I ran off stage, leaving seven other girls on stage to do their sequence of the dance. Offstage I tried to pull myself together. One final thought ran through my head, “God has her now, let go.” I had no idea what that meant, but I sure felt what it meant. I instantly felt ten pounds lighter. Going back on stage, I felt stronger than ever as a dancer. I finally got what it felt like to dance what I felt. This was my personal lullaby and prayer to my Aunt Joanne. I let God take over.

‘Lights will guide you home,’ we moved into our final pose, ‘and I will try to fix you.’ Catching my breath, the lights went out.

Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

Site Feedback