Saturday, February 11, 2012
Valentine Blog Fest: First Dance
For most couples, the first dance comes in one of two scenarios: either in a dance club the night they first meet, or at the reception of their wedding. Somehow, I suspect that it's more the latter than the former. For some reason, in my experience, guys just don't like to dance as much as women do. And then there are those who just shouldn't dance - but that's another story!
Ironically, for me, the first dance that is most memorable to me is the first one I did on pointe shoes when I danced as a girl. If you know anything about dancing, then you will understand how significant a thing it is for a girl to graduate from ballet slippers to pointe shoes. It is a rite of passage for a young dancer, kind of like puberty is to the adolescent. It is when the young dancer knows that she has finally "made it." And then there is the significance of doing one's first pointe solo - the same year she graduated from ballet slippers to pointe shoes. That is how it was for me.
I had always performed ballet solos before that, on slippers, of course, so I was no stranger to the medium. Still, it was pretty significant that I was allowed to do a pointe solo so soon after learning how to dance on pointe. To say I was thrilled is an understatement. I worked hard on that dance, practicing it whenever I had the chance, to the extent that I probably could have done it in my sleep - and probably did! I knew that dance backward and forward. Which was probably why I didn't skip a beat when disaster struck.
I wasn't that far into the dance when I heard a loud crack and felt a pop against my foot. I didn't know at the time what had happened. All I did know was that I had worked too hard on that dance to allow it to make me falter and so I continued to dance. But instead of on pointe, I danced as if in ballet slippers, without missing a beat. I would realize later, after removing my shoes, that the wooden shank had somehow snapped in two on my right shoe, thereby rendering it incapable of supporting me. That was the loud noise I'd heard, the pop I'd felt against my foot.
But do you know what? No one noticed - except my mother. She knew something was wrong, probably because she was there for so much of the rehearsing that I did and knew just how the dance was supposed to look. I remember her telling me later - probably in an attempt to calm me because I was devastated - that no one noticed. In fact, when she told my uncle what happened, he couldn't believe it because I kept right on going, He actually said you couldn't tell that anything was wrong because I didn't let it stop me. So there, in that one moment when I was completely devastated about my solo being "ruined," my mother turned the significance of the incident around by impressing upon me the positive aspects of it - that I didn't stop, that I didn't rush off-stage in tears, that I kept on going, and that I looked beautiful doing it. That, folks, is true love.