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Camille Guidry Professor Smith ENC1101 26 January 2014 My Voice

I reached my tiny hands towards the shelf and pull down a blouse. A silky scarf. Heels came next, naturally. Oversized and loosely hung uneven over me, looking good. Pride radiated from my five year old body. It was showtime. Clunking down the stairs the heels were heavy, thinking about which music to play. No audience today? Did not matter. This was purely for me. My made up routines, my moves, no one else knew my secret. Happiness. Whatever music was playing, The Beatles, Mardi Gras music, clear over the speakers. I couldn’t help but to dance. Five years old and serious about my dancing. This was a regular sight. “Mom come sit down and watch me!”. She was always impressed. The hot sun beat down on my head in the afternoon after school. My mom came, usually a little late, shuffled me into the back seat of the car. I hated it, that smell, almost sickening. I knew what time it was. The protest begins. I named reason upon reason why I did not want to go. I was sick, hated it, too tired, anything. Sitting in traffic I changed into my pink tights. I noticed the runs. My black leotard followed and I pulled my hair back. Perfect bun, must be perfect! No bumps. The tightness around my head was actually giving me a slight headache. I did not want to go. Every step was a protest. I was ecstatic in the class. My Cuban teacher saying her funny jokes between plies and pirouettes. Usually the same ones. The old and fading photographs, the ornate tutus and worn pointe shoes were a nostalgic reminder to her glory days as a Prima. She


knew what she was talking about. The hour passed and I forgot I never wanted to be here, I forgot my mom made me go. All I could think about was how much I enjoyed it. My mom knew it, she knew she won, that I was more than happy to go. I never thanked her for this until later. Is there a time where words don’t suffice, yes there is. Judgement clouds the thought process. Where what to do next is an impossibility and completely out of reach. Restrictive and uncomfortable. This is not fun. In a studio talking is not necessary. No need with the music. No explaining of yourself, no judgements, none of that. It is the movement that speaks instead. I always felt more comfortable with this. I have always been a talker. My mother always says I was talking since two. But here I did not need to. My energy building was magically channeled. Constructed and compacted into what came in the form as a choreographed and rhythmic move. Oh the comfort in knowing I could do this. What kind of clothes to wear didn’t matter, your family background didn’t matter, where you went to school, grades, didn’t matter. In the dance world, only movement did, and that was what captured people; amazed and impressed them. You don’t remember anything about them but their talent. When I couldn’t learn, that’s when things got difficult. So frustrating. So frustrated with myself. Teaching me, I can be my own enemy. Sometimes there’s just nothing left to say. I don’t need to think about anything else. Frazzled brain from the day, quiet, without even meaning to be. It happens. Falling asleep at night isn’t even as peaceful as this. Butterflies, shakiness, adrenaline, quiet, concentration, relaxation, anticipation, congregation. Balance, balance, stay longer, reach longer, look further, stretch, stretch. Release. Breathe. Don’t you hear the music? Patience, understanding, open minded. Are you willing to try something new? Yes. The things is, there is no limit, there is no stopping point. Forever looking for something new, and that is creative and fresh. My creative outlet. Try it again. Split in to


groups, so don’t be nervous. What was that again, one more time? Okay get back up. Every single day. My feet against the rough black floor. The blood pumping through my veins. They stick out on my feet and I hate them and love them at the same time. Twist my ankles, stretch my calves, anything to help me feel ready. Point and flex, point and flex. Staring across the stage the light beams back at me. It is hard to stare back. Nervously running my fingers over my hair. My headband secure on my head. I know this, I can do this, I know what to do. Reassurance never sounded so unsure. I’m waiting forever, for the music to start, for my feet to move, for my breath to quicken. Try and relax, and my friends are behind me. We hug. Laughing with them makes me lose focus but I’ll never forget doing that. Waiting waiting waiting. My whole body feels it. My feet need to move me. Curtain. Walk to stand and wait. Smells of fog, hairspray, sweat, wood, push out of your mind you can do this! I breathe in and out. I hear the music and my feet start to move. Pool of light I’m standing in magnifies every move. Slowly and slowly picks up pace as I realize what I’m doing. Feel the music and dance with it, hear this note that note. No smiling, no talking, but eyes say it all. The world in front of me smears turning my head from side to side, jumping and changing direction. Heart beating faster while my feet feel grounded. Two more join me. Leave. Two more join me. My movement matches my breath, which matches the music. My feet move me and I trust them. I reach out as far as I can, push to the highest level. Remember what Missy said, how to feel the music. I feel the other dancers around me, and our movements match. Breathing together making it easy to move. I love dancing with them, my sisters. A pause.. left alone on stage again looking up and breathing. What to think of this time. The lights, I want to cry. The last part, they join me again. Makes it impossible to feel anything at all. Look across and see them in slow motion. Stop time stop before I have to keep moving. I


want to cry because of happiness, hearing silent sobs on stage. Chills. Ending the three of us sitting and staring up. Backs turned and faces hidden. We feel each other there and do not have to move. It is perfect. I understand, I understand why I do this. The way it feels. I am in love. I love the veins in my feet. They let me do this. My breath. It guided me. I love my mom for showing me this. I love my choreographer for giving me this. I love my friends for doing this with me. Why do I have to leave?

Review From the start I liked this assignment. I felt relaxed and therefore more creative. When I try to write formal essays, I have this expectation in my head about how it is supposed to sound,


look, etc. But that never happens. It is like there is too much pressure and I can’t say what I really mean to say. With the understood informality of this paper, I was able to tell a story. The way it sounded in my head was exactly what I wrote on paper. This also meant I actually enjoyed writing a paper. This is definitely a first. I got to write about something I love, which is clearly dance. I am assuming this paper could have gotten pretty deep and touched on some sensitive subject for a lot of the people in the class, without even meaning to. Or some could have possibly taken a different route and elaborated in great detail on something quite simple. In some ways I found myself writing better than I normally do, and I liked that a lot. I realize I only wrote about one part of my life, but it was a huge aspect of it. Dancing taught me so many lessons and gave me so many experiences. It is hard not to write about something like this. I think the paper is an excellent one to start off with. It is loose and personally, gets me back into the swing of this; writing, deadlines, editing, and everything else that comes with a paper. Whatever the grade may be, although very important to me, I still will remember the paper in a positive way. The paper that allowed students to break the rules and just write.


My Voice