Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A Dance for Daniella by Julie Atwell Inspired by Karen Kaapcke’s painting – Stella

Daniella rested her heel on the footboard of the bed.  It wasn’t quite as high as a bar, but still allowed her to feel the stretch in her muscles as she leaned over, laying her body across the length of her leg.  Her hair fell over the top of her head and brushed back and forth across her knee as she went through the movements that would awaken her muscles and prepare her for the day.

In her mind, Daniella tried to push her doubts into the farthest corner but they kept dancing back out like mischievous children, pulling at her consciousness, teasing her nerves and taunting her rational thoughts.  “Stop!” she exclaimed in a harried whisper.  No point in yelling and waking up the entire house with her anxious musings. 

Her mother would try to comfort her with empty praise and her siblings would roll their eyes.  “There goes the diva, demanding all the attention again.”  Even when they didn’t say it out loud, she knew it ran through their brains whenever they thought she was asking for too much.

She wondered if she really was just a diva.  She didn’t feel like one.  She never felt like she asked for a lot of attention either.  Certainly not as much as Corey with his problems in school, or Phaedra always sneaking to hang out with her friends and chase boys. 

Daniella tried to do what was right.  Worked at getting good grades in school, kept to herself, and danced.  Of course, it was really all about the dance.  The other stuff, school, friends, those were the things she had to do.  Dancing was for her.  But whatever she did, school, or dance, she was determined to do it well and sometimes, when she was afraid she wasn’t good enough, she needed reassurance.

That’s when Phaedra and Corey would roll their eyes and accuse her of manufacturing her doubts and insecurities to get attention. “You know you’re good enough, stop trying to get mom to say it. “  They complained that she set the bar too high and they couldn’t live up to the expectations everyone had because of her.

“Forget them,” Daniella whispered again, and pushed her sibling from her thoughts.  They had nothing to do with her fears, her challenges, the things she knew she had to overcome.  Today, there was only one person worth thinking about.  Madame Stella.

She was the one who could decide her future as a dancer.  She was the one who would push her body to its limits and then ask for more.  She was the only person Daniella needed to think about impressing. 

The fear started creeping up the back of Daniella’s neck again, a tight, tingling sensation that threatened to paralyze her.  Quickly, she brought her leg down from the footboard, grabbed her small, ipod off her nightstand and clipped it to the front of her leotard.  She put the headphones in her ears and instantly, she was awash in music.  She felt the notes flooding through her veins, filling her body and pushing back fear, anxiety, anger, love, hate…there was no emotion, no thought, just music and movement, just dance. 

Daniella whirled and spun in the small space in her room.  Each and every movement was measured and controlled. Even when she was lost in the music, her body remembered the discipline it had been subjected to every day for a lifetime.  Each and every muscle, knew it’s purpose and place and they all responded for her, sometimes before she even realized what she was asking them to do. 

This dance, this ability to rely on her body and lose herself in the music.  This feel of being immersed and filled, of being in control yet completely lost in abandon all at once – this was what life was about.  There were no siblings here.  There were no well-intentioned, but thoughtless mothers here.  There were no boring teachers or dense classmates, or sweet but directionless friends.  This place was all there was.  To dance and to feel and to reach and to fly.

Daniella let herself fall onto the bed, feeling the springs give way and the covers fly up around her in puffs of air.  She stayed there for a moment, stretched out, counting her breaths as they rose and fell, feeling little beads of sweat roll down her temples and the sides of her body. This was peace and for this moment she didn’t care what her siblings thought, or even what Madame Stella thought.  For this moment she knew that no matter what happened, she would always dance.

Daniella, rose from the bed and went to go take a shower.

1 comment:

Dr. Bels1dus said...

A-hem...cough, cough.