Behind Every Grown up Woman
Dear Salsa Latina's owner
I would like to thank you for changing my life. If I haven't joined your club, I would have never experienced the joy of dancing. Below is my essay about dancing This is half fiction but the essence remains the same. Dancing touched my life. And I would like to share what I experienced to other people. You are welcome to share this essay in your newsletter. If you think the content does not suit your newsletter and decide not to publish it, that's okay.
At least, you know how dance changes my life
BEHIND EVERY GROWN UP WOMAN
There was a five year old little girl who was mesmerised by Moira Shearer’s performance in “The Red Shoes”. Afterward, she pleaded for a ballet lesson to her mother. The money was tight and the mother was proud. Her reply to the little girl was “You are not cut to be a dancer. You are too clumsy. Look, you drop your porridge again.” It was a remark said only once. Yet, it cut and the wound was carved deeply in her heart. You can and will never be a dancer.
Then she turned ten and hated every minute of it. She found that she could not read the writing in front of her class from her seat. She had to wear glasses. A month before, her mother took her to a dentist. The dentist had placed ugly braces in her month. Braces and glasses. What could be worse than that? She wanted to join a class performance. It was a short performance with all the students sing together and closed with a simple dance. The most popular girl in her class- a very cute girl with curly hair, beautiful dark eyes and perfect teeth- said to her “You cannot join the performance. You do not look like a performer.” Not only she was clumsy, she was too ugly to be in front of other people.
When she turned seventeen, she had long buried a dream to dance. She studied and made friends with “her own kind” who were far from the spotlight. Sometimes, from a far distance, she saw the cheerleaders doing practice in the field while the boys teased them. She reminded herself that those girls are beyond her. She should just focus on the ground instead of staring at the bright stars. On the high school ball night, she chose to go for an outing with her family because she believed no one would ask her for a dance.
Years passed and suddenly she was now a grown up woman. She was not the top achiever at her career but she was not a loser either. After being on and off in relationships, she decided that her friends and her cat were enough for her. Life had not been too bad, or so she had convinced herself. Yet sometimes she felt there was something missing in her heart but she did not know what it was.
One Friday night, she went for a drink after work with her colleagues. She was worrying about the broken pipe in her bathroom and the cost of hiring a plumber when the music suddenly changed into a foreign song. It was Salsa, she found out later. The crowd moved aside to give space to a man and a lady. The man took the lady’s hand and together they started a dance. She could feel the dance’s rhythm. One, two, three, pause, five, six, seven. It was like a mantra which charmed her to fix her eyes on the couple.
In the middle of the song, the man twirled the lady and she succumbed herself into an amazing spin. She felt her eyes wet. The dance was completely different from ballet but it took her back to the time when she saw “The Red Shoes” for the first time. The same beauty, the same pain. She had to excuse herself to the bathroom to cry her eyes out.
She cried for the five year old girl who was told by her mother that she could never dance. She cried for the ten year old who were rejected by her peers because of her appearance. And she cried for the seventeen year old girl who never went to her high school ball. She thought that they had disappeared from her life. But they were still there, hidden in her memory drawer, waiting to be found.
On Tuesday evening, she braved herself to join the dance club. When she stepped her feet for her first lesson, her fear gradually disappeared. She found her herself following the music’s rhythm. A surge of happiness filled her heart. She could dance and it only took a first step to find it out. As she danced, she could see the five year old girl fidgeting, very excited for her first dance lesson. When she made her right turn in front of the mirror, she could see the ten year old girl singing and waving her hands in front of school’s audience. And one day, if she kept dancing, she would have someone to take her hands for a dance. Together, they would dance the long overdue ball.