A Year of Memories | Teen Ink

A Year of Memories

April 20, 2015
By waltzing_wishes SILVER, Belmont, Massachusetts
waltzing_wishes SILVER, Belmont, Massachusetts
9 articles 1 photo 5 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Success is not final; Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts" - Winston Churchill

A year is a long, long time.


A year ago, this brick building contained everything. My past, my future, my hopes and dreams - me.


But today it is silent as I push open the door, empty of the usual sounds of piano music and dull thudding of pointe shoes against the floor. I am here after hours for one reason only, I remind myself. To pick up the remainder of my dance items.


Slowly, I make my way to the locker room and brush my hand across the ventilation grids on each locker until I reach number 88. My locker. I spin the combination lock and yank it open, then stare blankly at what remains to be taken home. A neon green pilates mat. Twelve month’s worth of hair pins. Four pairs of dead pointe shoes and a single, lonely jazz shoe. Apparently, being a dancer seems synonymous with being a hoarder.


I cannot help taking a step into the studio as I leave. Reflected in the massive mirror, I look tiny. Insignificant. Countless dancers have stood here before me, and many more will stand here long after I depart. This studio will stand here, year after year, as generations of dancers leave to pursue their dreams.


I spent my summer here, waltzing across the vinyl flooring at obscene hours of the morning. Time that should have been spent at the beach, perfecting my tan and giggling with friends, was spent in this room. Dancing in heat so merciless, the sweat drenched your leotard and plastered your tights to your thighs.


Autumn brought the harried anticipation of returning to class, to routines, to discipline. Every leaf that floated off the branch was a reminder of how close performance season was. How little time you had to improve, to impress the teachers.


The following winter was a blur of excitement and crowds around the bulletin board, waiting for casting. It was a flurry of snowflakes melting on your fingertips and girls donning glittering tutus spinning to Tchaikovsky’s Waltz of the Snowflakes. For me, winter was always shellacked buns, fake eyelashes and blood red lipstick.


Spring was butterflies, of monarchs and swallowtails and the nervous ones in your stomach that threatened your breakfast. Spring reduced you to a number printed on a wrinkly half sheet of paper, as you stood in your black regulation leotard in front of panel of judges. Spring was audition season, where a dancer could taste the sweetness of an acceptance letter and the biting cruelty of a rejection all in the same day.

As I pick up my duffle bag to leave, I reflect back on the words my dance teacher told me when I was eight. Enjoy what you have, because the life of a dancer is shorter than a mayfly. At the time, I did not understand what she meant. A cycle of seasons had seemed like an endless period of time, infinite in its possibilities.


But those possibilities include a myriad of unaccounted for things. Sickness and injury are as destructive to a dancer as a summer storm is to a mayfly. Sometimes, one accident is all it takes. How right my teacher was in the end, I think, as I press my hand to my back brace.


A year is a long, long time.


But it is not enough.

Similar Articles


This article has 1 comment.

on Apr. 25 2015 at 8:27 pm
crazysockmonkeys SILVER, Boynton Beach, Florida
5 articles 0 photos 36 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I think of writing as something more organic than words, something closer to being than action." -Tennessee Williams

This is a great story! I am not a dancer, but for I went to a fine arts school for four years, so I'm somewhat familiar with this scene. The way you described everything was just beautiful, and I love how subtle and sad the conflict is. Amazing job!