The Solo Dancer

Posted: January 19, 2010 in Fictional stories
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(A dancer and her last performance-Fiction)

I looked wistfully at the ballerina shoes hanging on the wall. When was the last time I had it on my feet. The date and time were etched in my mind. As if I would ever forget that momentous day.

That was the performance of my lifetime. I stood on my toes with my slender arms held up in the air and my smile touching my ears; my eyes on fire and my mind swimming in a cauldron of unimaginable feelings of effervescence, blitheness and a sensation of living my dreams. I couldn’t see the crowd but they could see me. They were watching me, waiting for me to make it or break it; a faltering step, a misstep perchance, a fall but I wasn’t going to do that. I was here to dance for the ones who wanted to see me dance in my true form, as I was taught by the genius of a Master I had, who’s every step and breath I inhaled until I morphed into him. He had taught me since I was a child, held my hands, scolded me, goaded me, admonished me and molded me into his dream dancer. I wouldn’t let him down. Not now or for ever. He taught me well. 

His master stroke sprang from me to life, in every step I took. All those years of relentless practice into the wee hours of the morning, those frustrations and panic I had felt at not being able to reach the zenith. All of that would be put to rest today. I was the solo dancer. I would perform until the last breath in me, stayed with me and breathed fire into my body, serenely fashioning my every step, into a rhythmic beat that the music was infusing in my blood. And as the music gently filled my ears I moved in slow circles at first on one foot, on my toes then I lifted my other foot higher up balancing it all in one sweeping motion as I arched my body gently forward and pirouetted again on my toes. I closed my eyes. I was one with the supernatural. The presence of a divine infused in the music. I didn’t see anything or feel anything else. My center was my body and the strings that were plucking me were the music and with exquisite perfection, we danced, all in harmony. I was as pliant as the music wanted me to be and as supple and lithe as the dance wanted me to be. I seemed to have been blessed by a grace that had never come through before but appeared to me as strength that I much needed on that day. 

My solo performance, a performance I wanted to leave behind as a memory etched in my inner mind as well as in the audience watching me. Would they feel it? Could they feel what I was feeling? Would they appreciate my efforts? Would they like what they saw and let it seep into their system and transfer them to a divine level of understanding the arts as I was feeling or were they just bourgeoisie, killing and evening to proudly proclaim that they were at the Bolshoi theater of Performing Arts to watch the Ballet of some nameless artist, whose solo performance would make her or break her. Would they go back to their little cozy homes and write up a review trashing me or would they just ignore me as someone beneath their standards of recognition? 

Would they even know I was born into a family of 10 for whom food was hard to come by let alone dancing? Would they know that my parents worked hard to raise us by sheer toil and cleaning their palatial houses and the money they spent buying a ticket would have actually fed the whole family. I was called ‘twinkle toes’ and my mother insisted that I learn dance come rain or shine and she worked night-shifts to see me through. That was years ago but they aren’t there to see me dance my solo performance anymore.

So I dance tonight for them and for me and I know they are watching me and showering me with their celestial music while I am lost in swaying to the music while I did my rendition of the ‘Swan Lake’. The music had stopped but my body wouldn’t and danced until all the applause died down. I had tears streaming down my eyes. At least it was the best I could come up with. That was the day and I hadn’t stopped dancing since, but now. 

I had hung up my shoes; they look at me from there, as a sole reminder of who I was and what I had become. Maybe I did achieve what I wanted and what they wanted of me. I had a good life and so did my shoes, for which I am thankful.

And now it was time for the curtain call after all, I thought as I hobbled slowly on my crutches towards the window. I threw open the window, inhaled the morning air and soaked the sun, lounging in my armchair. It sure was a good life I thought, as I closed my eyes forever.


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