I wrote this as a challenge, to see if I could write about something I've never done before.
Attitude is a pose, the way a dancer can hold their pose. It has nothing to do with your personality, it is the way you hold yourself.
My instructor has been an unbelievable dancer, known for her acting and performances with her partners. Like water, she could bend in any way she decided to manipulate it. Flexible, tall, lean, she was perfect.
She took me under her wing, before the class even started. She was determined to turn me into a professional dancer. Never asking what I strove to accomplish, she knew what she wanted. And I looked up to her, as all the other students did, and did not question a single thing she asked of me.
When I first met her, I was late to class. Even worse, my hair wasn’t pulled back. I now understand why her rules were so crucial to dance. After having me do twenty push-ups, she had me lay down on my back that cold Saturday morning. I knew she wanted to see my turnout, so I turned my knees to the side, heels together. My knees didn’t touch the floor, as I hoped they would have. I had to impress her. She pushed my knees to the floor, thinking I wasn’t relaxed enough. Little did she know, I was as relaxed as I could possibly be in that moment.
Some girls are born with long legs. Stunning, graceful, toned and strong. Some are born with beautiful arches to their feet. It takes genetics to be a perfect ballet dancer. I had none of these qualities. I had short legs, but they were toned and stronger than most of the girls in my class. My arches weren’t deep enough, either, and worst of all – my turnout was not where it should be for a dancer.
I dance. And I dance well. My body may not look to be the perfect ballet body, but it certainly has the heart perfect for it.
“Stomach in! Torso lifted, yes… yes. Pelvis needs to be turned over! Flat in front. Squeeze your thighs. Heels forward, toes to the side. Come on now, Isabella. You know this. Chest out, shoulders open. Feet first, left hand on the barre, right hand in preparatory. Chin up! Now! Head to the side. And one, two, three. Breathe. One, two, and three…” the Ballet Mistress calls out, hitting each section that needs to be improved. I try to straighten my back, keep my arms in perfect posture. I have to be right.
It is difficult to feel the beauty of dancing. I focus on everything that needs to be done with my body, I always forget to enjoy the sequence that I am performing. When I am in the absolute bliss of the moment, I want more from myself. I know I have it in me, that I can perform.
Music flows through me like blood, and I become liquid like my Ballet Mistress. I let it fill my soul, traveling from my head to my toes. Jumps feel like I am floating, twirling above the earth. Every choreographed combination is precise. My soft pink silk dress settles over my legs as I wait for the next combination to begin, in sync with a new song. I gracefully glide to the center of the stage. Two other girls are on either side of me, three boys each stationed in front of us. Twirling, jumping, spinning, dancing around each other like a cat-and-mouse game. His muscles strain to hold me, his sweat runs down his face.
He has been my partner for months now, and we’ve yet to grow accustom to each other. We try, but there is no connection. Our Ballet Mistress forces us to work together, knowing in the Company we’ll have no choice as to who our partners are. I set my feelings aside and focus on the next routine piece.
My body is one with the music, as it reaches its climax, I know I can complete what the Mistress has taught me. With each step, each glide, each jump, I reach my fullest potential. I have no more fears.
This is my destiny.