“Dance is the hidden language of the soul” ― Martha Graham

Just one second in no man’s land, on the edge between dull reality and glittering illusion. Ready to run, but for just one more second waiting, waiting, until the music starts to play. Darkness. Silence. A deep breath for courage, a last adjustment of your clothes- and there you go. Off the deep end.

A few weeks ago, my dance school had its dance show. I participated in three choreographies and for one of them, I had to wear a purple tutu. With pink fake diamonds. At first, it felt a bit all too glittery, but as soon as you walk on stage in those, you feel awesome. I enjoyed it, the performing, the clothes, the music, everything. Shows have their very own atmosphere – think hairspray, water, sweat and the mess backstage. There is no feeling like being backstage at a show.  We sat in the wings, watching the people on stage performing. We get to see things no one sees: the spotlights at the sides, the back of the curtain, the stage when it’s empty.

It’s a promising sight, you know, an empty stage, or a stage that’s being prepared. It feels good to be a part of the ‘elite’ that gets to see this. And it feels like magic could happen. Add some lights, add some music and dancers, and there you go: a perfect illusion. A veil of beauty over everything. A stage is a chance to be different, to let go of everything, it’s just a chance.

And you can feel that when you are about to walk/run/jump on stage. That silent second in the wings, right before crossing the border, the moment I described above- it’s the moment you know you’re going to make that magic happen (or at least, you hope so). Though I didn’t really have stage fright anymore, you can still feel the tension. You’re out there, you know, and everyone is watching you.

But sometimes, the audience doesn’t even matter. Two years ago, I participated in the most beautiful choreography I ever danced in. When the music started to play, a spotlight was turned upon us, a sort of soft, eveninglike yellow light. We, as a group, started entering the stage. It felt as entering a movie. The music was so very beautiful and just sort of carried me away. I believe you can dance at your best when the music is the trigger of every movement you make. That’s what it felt like. And at that moment, honestly, the audience didn’t matter at all. What mattered was that the music was playing and I could only show its beauty by dancing this choreography, as if the music notes turned into energy inside me. (I know this sounds sentimental, but there is no other way of really describing it as it felt.)

My god, how I loved it. I was never tired of doing it, not even when repeating it over a thousand times in class. I still get goosebumps when I see the performance on DVD. It wasn’t the only beautiful dance I’ve been in. My dance teacher can make the greatest modern pieces you can imagine. It almost feels like an honor to be in one.

You all know I love dancing, but it’s hard to describe that feeling. It’s hairspray and warming up behind the scenes, it’s the back of the curtain, the music of the first act starting to play, the second before you enter stage and the music lugging you along. Something like that. And once on stage, you become that illusion, a smile, a character, and no one (not even you) cares about anything happening behind the scenes. You are meant to be nothing but beauty, the spotlights on you and the rest darkness – because once on stage, the outter world doesn’t matter anymore.

theater

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6 Comments

  1. I wish I could have seen you perform this beautiful dance, Astrid. It sounds breathtaking. I know what you mean about the music – it’s like your dance partner, isn’t it? The music is everything, when it’s perfect and the choreography is perfectly suited to it, then the whole thing is magic and transports you. I love the way you wrote about this. It’s very stirring. 🙂

    Reply
    • Dance partner – exactly!
      Thank you for your kind comment :). It wouldn’t have been worth the trip to Belgium though, because I’ve been on stage for only 15 minutes.
      But still it was worth doing :).

      Reply
  2. Beautiful description!
    It’s funny that being literally on display like that can move a performer to their own private paradise, and that they can bring the audience with them.

    I bet you transported the whole crowd with your dancing!

    Reply
  3. Ah yes… I’ve always believed in the saying… Dance like no one is watching 😉

    Edita
    http://www.pret-a-reporter.co.uk

    Reply
    • One of the best feelings ever to dance like that… But at the same time, dance like everyone is watching – and you’ll get out your best moves as well ;).

      Reply

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