A Place I Love

A Place I Love

I am standing in a tight, dimly lit corner and I can feel my heart pounding fast in my chest. An undeniable feeling is surging through my veins. The temperature in my cheeks rises as they turn pink with excitement. My fingers tingle as bursts of energy travel through my arms and congregate at my finger tips. My spine wiggles as the slightest shocks of nerves skate from my neck down to the heels of my feet. The thoughts inside my head imitate cars driving on a series of intertwined highways, determined to get to their destination fast. It’s a race against time as I attempt to go over everything I was taught during the last couple months. And just like that, the lights go out.

It’s time.

Years of training have led up to this very moment. I can remember a time as a child when I would not even want to set foot in a studio. My mother started me in classes since I was two. By the age of 7 or 8, I didn’t understand why, instead of going on play dates every Saturday morning with my friends, I would be stuck taking classes. It was not until my preteen years that I started taking my craft more seriously. It was a talent that I was now becoming proud of and I only wanted to get better.

After classes or rehearsals, you could always find me in the studio, by myself, perfecting the choreography taught. I loved the feeling of my rough bare feet gripping the smooth marley floor, and call me selfish, but I didn’t want to share it with anybody. During one of my final dates with the studio, my mother calls, rushing me home in order to watch my younger siblings. Before I left, I took a good around, admiring every inch of the room. As I stood there grounded, I took a good look in the mirror and asked myself “What is it that you want to do?”

I hear the crowd applause as the group that just finished silently rushes past me. I say a few quick words to the Big Man upstairs and then to myself. “You got this! Go out there and kill it!” I quickly maneuver through the darkness, find my place and stick my starting position. I’m ready.

The lights then shine bright and I can barely see anything past 20 feet. But I know there are people out there, watching my every move. I must please them. Within a second the music I know all too well begins. And my body takes over.

My movements flow along with the smooth rhythms of the piano, something like a fish floating down a river. My back contracts and releases by command of the deep voice of the drum. My arms slice through the air commenting the sharp sounds of the violin. I am hitting all shapes and poses, and executing the choreography with all of my mind, body and soul.

Through these movements I must tell a story, my story. I can tell the story of my journey through life and through the arts, evoking all kinds of emotions. Even though my story isn’t complete, I don’t think they will mind.

As the piece nears the end and my body begins to run out of oxygen, I gather my last bit of energy. I push myself to execute these last steps at the absolute best. These steps must be better than anything prior because it is the final impression. It is the last the audience will see of me and I must leave them with something they will remember and love. To the final boom of the drum, I freeze in my ending pose. And the lights go out.

I can hear the loud thunder of the crowd as they cheer and applause, and the distinct “That’s my baby! Mommy loves you!” from my biggest fan. I was out of breath running off that stage but the energy of the crowd gives me life. An undeniable feeling is surging through my veins. I stand tall and rejuvenated as this fresh energy travels along my spine. My fingers clench with power and pride. My cheeks radiate with the glow as I can now answer the question I once asked myself. This is where I want to be, the place I love, Center Stage.

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