I’ve been looking forward to this all day. I shove a burrito down my gullet, grab my bag, and make my way into class. If Lynn catches me eating a burrito, she’ll tease me endlessly about how the young think they’ll be thin forever, so I gulp it down and throw away the wrapper.
Dropping my bag in the corner and kicking off my flip flops, I pull off my sweats and pile my hair into a messy bun on top of my head.
I find a spot on the hardwood floor and plop down as ungracefully as possible. Other girls are wandering in and we gossip as they find spots in front of the mirror. I spread my legs out spread-eagle style and begin a good, cool stretch.
With my arms leading, I pull my head down to my knees and grab my bare toes. My feet point and flex and point and flex and I feel the power of each tendon. I stretch my back and arms and ass and muscles most people don’t even know they have.
Lynn turns on an African beat, and we chat with her as she begins the warm-up. She leads and we follow along to the syncopation that resonates into the floor. The movement is a language all its own. 1 2 3 4 relevé, turn, plié, forced arch, relevé, tendu, turn, battement attitude, contract, release, and return. Again. Again.
After warm-up, we settle on the floor to stretch again. Fully warm muscles move into even deeper stretches and we groan as Lynn pushes further into our limits.
20 minutes at the barre in pain and agony as we focus on technique and feet and ankles and hips as we tendu and battement and round de jambe.
“Isn’t this fun?”
“Masochist!” we laugh back at her.
Time for choreography we’ve been working on for weeks. We take our places and Lynn starts the music. She counts us off but most of us know our cues. Immediately, my mind lets go and my body takes over. I cease to exist and my body is all there is of me. I can’t think about anything else. Only movement and music.
My mind is gone and my muscles know each step. Bare feet slide and jump and mark time as fingers stretch, toes flex and point, legs and arms fly deliberately around, finding the floor and then up again, rolling, spinning, leaping, extending, and tilting.
I breathe into the movement. Ahhh ooh AHH shh oooh ah sss AH. Knees knock on the floor, toes scrape, muscles pull, but I don’t feel any of it. I just feel the steps, the movement, the pull of the dance from every inch of my body into my soul.
We repeat it over and over until class is over and even though I’m drenched with sweat and my hair is a tangle and my lungs are threatening to burst and my muscles might just abandon my body for a much more sedentary host, I wish I could keep going.
Nevertheless, I pull on my sweats and flip flops and wobble out to my car a happier person.
Dancing is happiness. My whole life, no matter who I am or what is happening, I can forget everything and just move. It’s all I ever really need. Always just what I need.
This was a post for The Red Writing Hood RemembeRED prompt: Imagine you are meeting someone for the first time. You want to tell them about yourself. Instead of reciting a laundry list of what you do or where you're from,
please give us a scene from your life that best illustrates your true
self. This is an exercise in showing, not telling. You need to show us
why this particular moment defines you, or why you want someone to know
this truth about you. Be descriptive without bogging us down in
6 days ago