I see when you’re flustered, forgetful and confused. I see when you’re tired, sweaty and annoyed at your friend who keeps chaîné turning into you. I see when you realize it’s nearly show time and you’re still not clear on the petit allegro from Act 3, or why your music sounds different from last week’s rehearsal (chances are it's because I changed it without telling you). I see you roll your eyes at yourself, your friends and your teachers (and me) when choreography is changed, or someone forgets their formation, their cue, or their prop. I see your eyes glaze over in boredom when it’s not your turn to dance. I see you get stressed out because your pointe shoes are dead. I see your look of terror when I tell you there are fouetté turns in your variation. I see tears of frustration, groans of discipline, exhaustion of a second, third, fourth run-through. I see your disappointment when I’m disappointed and. I see when you’re mad at me because I told you it wasn’t good enough.
Then, I see you running to your spots at the first note of music after a water break. I see you counting the music in your head and singing the steps out loud. I see you cheering each other on when it’s not your turn to dance. I see you hurrying to try on costumes and reminding each other which wing to sauté out of. I see you checking your props are on set. I see the light bulbs go off. I see you reminding me of your cues, your choreography and your counts. I see a story line, characters and a ballet starting to come together. I see you bite your lip, pull up your posture, and point your tendu with all of your power. I see you dance full out, fall down, laugh at your mistake and carry on.
Then, I see your excitement and your hustle. I see it dawn on you that you are a flapper (or a candy cane, or a sugarplum fairy, or a ghost, or a Jet, or a mouse). I see you take over the stage, flying and soaring together, in sync with your music and your cast mates. I see you have the time of your lives. I see you dare a captive audience to look away; not because of the music, the dancing or the choreography – but because of the shining, confident, lovable performers on stage. I see a new ballet that I don’t even recognize from the week before, being performed by dancers I don’t even recognize from the week before.
So go dance your hearts out and have a hotsy-totsy good time, flappers and gangsters! And thank you for another job well done! Y'all are the bee's knees!!