The Final Curtain Call

Flash back to the little girl in the pale yellow tutu, arms flailing, feet scurrying in a mad dash to join her class onstage for her very first dance recital… Flash forward to (as I write these words) this upcoming weekend, when that same “little” girl will perform in her 20th – and final – show. 

Where ever did the years go?

Had you asked me back then if I would still be dancing now, all these years later, six year-old me would have most likely said no – that one frenzied dash onstage was quite enough for a lifetime, thank you. And yet, time would prove that it wasn’t enough. After a lapse of several years, I decided to return – and I’ve never looked back. Through middle school, high school, college and beyond… dance has become a part of my life, a weekly commitment I was (for the most part) more than happy to keep. 

Sure, there were those years when the “real world” tended to get in the way, when school and work and all those other life commitments took over, making my getting to class something of a chore. But, come the annual ritual of pictures, dress rehearsals and recital shows each June, I was there, ready to go…and the thrill of being on stage was back in full swing. 

Believe me, I’m not the best dancer in the world. I was never going to make a career of this particular hobby. And yet, I grew to love it. Year after year, hour upon hour of classes, barré and floor exercises, choreographed routines, costumes and props…all adding up to countless memories – of standing ovations and forgotten steps, of flying leaps and desperately trying not to fall out of turns, of layers of makeup and enough hairspray to withstand a hurricane. Oh, and glitter. Lots of glitter.

So many people have come and gone along the way, not the least of which were those teachers who have made an impact reaching far beyond the dance studio - people it seems impossible to fathom not seeing each and every week, like clockwork, from September through June. Sure, there are the photos and the videos to reminisce over; but this does not compare to the pure experience of it all – nor does it replace the people, or the sense of comeradery that only those who have belonged to a dance studio can fully comprehend.

Nothing will ever compare to that.

And so, it is with mixed emotions that I prepare for that final curtain call. Twenty years is a long time, making it that much more difficult to say goodbye. But it is time. As with anything, all good things must eventually come to an end – and for me, “retirement” beckons.

So here’s to the memories and to all the magic that has been created onstage…from those first frantic steps all those years ago to the (hopefully) poised moment when I take one final bow. 

And wouldn’t you know it, I have a tutu this year.

 

{Published: June 13th, 2012}

Jamie Lynn RyanComment