It seems like every kid goes through certain phases, like the terrible twos or “dinosaurs are so awesome!!!”. Wanting to be a dancer seems to be another common phase, if only because of the glitter, swooshy dresses, and promise of a spotlight. After a few weeks of tapping all over our basement, I convinced my mother to let me try out dance lessons. I was so excited to “tea for two, and two for tea” for years to come. Somehow instead of tap dance, I ended up in jazz dance. According to my mom it was because of the schedule. But I still think its because the shoes were extra soft and quiet. I was bummed, but the floors of our house (and my parents’ eardrums) were safe.
Now if you have read my other posts, or know me in the real world, then you know I’m not a famous dancer on broadway (…yet…just kidding: not gonna happen). I stuck around for about a year of lessons before moving on to something new. I think it was the tuba for band class.
During my year of lessons, there was only one thing that I was really good at: butterfly stretches. Its a move where you sit on the ground, with the bases of your feet flat against one another, and try to press your knees to the ground. Similar to sitting criss-cross-applesauce, except with the legs beside one another rather than on top of each other. Many of the others in class would have their knees bent about halfway to the ground, or maybe just barely touching while they leaned down with their elbows. But I could be totally flat on the ground with no effort, and then, just to highlight my one-thing awesomeness, would lean down over my lap with hands casually stretched out in front of me. I may have needed extra time or help 59 minutes each class, but for that one minute: I rocked.
I’m actually still a pretty big fan of my legs. Even though it felt super strange and awkward to take a picture of them.
- They manage to get me through 13.1 and 26.2 mile races, and still manage to walk the next day (slow, but there is always movement).
- They can be used to hold onto a toddler who is trying to wiggle away or a preschooler who needs help calming down from a tantrum.
- They “dance” for an infant who needs to be distracted from the bottle warming up in the kitchen.
- And yes, they can still butterfly stretch all the way down to the ground.
There are times when my knees shake a bit before a crowd, when my feet want to turn around from a starting line, or when my hips don’t quite make it around a corner (“that’ll be a bruise”). But they keep me standing, literally and figuratively.
#52sparks is my year-long writing series based on an art prompt challenge. The title is inspired by a quote from Star Wars: The Last Jedi: “We are the spark, that will light the fire that’ll burn the First Order down” (Poe Dameron). The spark that lights a fire to toast a marshmallow or to ravage a forest begins in the space of an inch. So just imagine what hundreds of inches and words can do.