“You see, you closed your eyes. That was the difference. Sometimes you cannot believe what you see, you have to believe what you feel. And if you are ever going to have other people trust you, you must feel that you can trust them, too--even when you’re in the dark. Even when you’re falling.”
― Mitch Albom, Tuesdays With Morrie
It was probably the hottest day of the year and it wasn’t even summer. However, in the island I was born, summer was the only season we knew, so maybe my description of that day is not an overstatement. The air conditioning was barely working in the student theater. An impulse to complain crossed my mind, and then I recalled: To whom am I going to complain? We were fortunate to have a theater. Yes, I should have been grateful instead of grumpy.
The loud voices outside the dressing room took me out of that contemplative state. I rushed through the piles of make up on the rickety drawer. This red lipstick will do – I thought. People called my name twice; three times…I’m coming! – I screamed.
While I walked out to the stage, excitement and nervousness rushed through my veins. For a moment, I forgot every step, the entire choreography actually and felt as if I was about to faint. Two, five, ten seconds later, it was all gone. I looked at my dance partner, his smile broad, his eyes glittering and his hands holding me strong. I felt secure; I know this, and I’m not alone on this. I looked around to the other nine dancers standing behind the curtains ready to make their entrance, and at that moment I understood my group was ready, and so was I.
As we moved through the stage and my body started dancing to the rhythm of a Juan Luis Guerra merengue, my anxiety completely vanished. I heard the lyrics, the instruments and the standing audience clapping after every turn, every unexpected, risky, exciting move from the dancers. The lights were so bright I could not see anyone in the audience, but it didn’t matter.
Time had never flown so fast. In a heartbeat we were coordinating the final positions and closing our performance with perfectly coordinated moves. The audience was way to generous with applauses. I was smiling; my heart was smiling.
Dance complements my existence in a way that is unique and special. Dance is a vehicle of expression that allows me to communicate without boundaries, without fear. Dance to me is more than having the artistic skills or providing a fulfilling experience for my audience. Every time I dance, I learn about the meaning of trust and reliance on others. Dancing is collaboration. I recognize that in connecting with others I may find my own strength. I understand that in times of self-doubt, uncertainty, or fear, having someone who believes in me can make a world of difference.