Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Before Yesterday

Last night, like so many of the nights of my life, I took a dance class. At this point in my life (I’m 54) I don’t find very many opportunities to take a class.

I drove 45 minutes to take an 8:30-10:00 jazz class with Todd, terrorized by the possibility that I might humiliate myself the entire way there. I was the only dancer that showed up. Todd held the door open for me to enter and held the class anyway. Great. So many more possibilities to humiliate myself waited in the empty dance studio.

The Boston Marathon bombing was yesterday. Todd moved here to Phoenix from Boston. It was a rough day for Todd. Not as rough as for many in Boston, but for someone removed and unable to help, rough still. But he stayed present to teach a class to one person…a 54-year-old dancer who rarely gets into class.

Last night, I didn’t have the right footwear for pirouettes, my left knee didn’t…my balance wasn’t quite…my butt refused to…I only wanted to sous-sus with the my right foot front even when the left foot front made more sense, but Todd and I danced together anyway in a style from back in the day. Back in a good day.

Last night was stepping back  to a time when I got to move with music to choreography somebody else created. This is a luxury I cherish now. This is a luxury that used to be “usual.”

I forget that I love to dance. Deeply. Dearly. Last night I remembered that our bodies were meant to soar and float and our souls were meant to breathe. Sitting in front of a computer it’s easy to forget.

We smiled. Almost the entire time. We had both danced with the same people back in New York, back in the day when twin towers still towered… with Luigi and with teachers still teaching:  Hama, Doug Caldwell and I can never remember the other guys name…Claude Thompson!  I had white high-top jazz oxfords back then. Humiliating shoe choice now, but so cool then.

Yesterday sucked for Boston, for America, for human beings. Art of any kind always gives us a pocket to climb into and escape. For me, dancing is my comforting, cherished pocket.

This morning the world is still the same, but for an hour and a half last night – it was a yesterday before terrorists. 

A yesterday when dancing was usual. 

Boston, I hope and pray you will find a pocket of escape for your soul to breathe and someday you will be able to remember your days before yesterday.

Thank you for taking the entire time to dance with me last night, Todd.


www.abbybelladance.com, Todd Bailey, instructor


  1. Found this post through Dancers Over 40 on Facebook. This truly made me tear up. To remove ourselves if only for an hour into a life we had, we have, and will have of dance. It's something to treasure. Right now I'm not dancing. I'm going to tomorrow though. I am. I have to. Back to basics with ballet. I'm sure even that will move me. Thanks for the inspiration.

  2. Shari, your comment made me jump up and cheer. Thanks for taking the time! I hope you do go ballet tomorrow. And I hope it's everything you loved about it in the first place.

  3. This blog post spoke volumes to me. I will be 60 in November. Two years ago, I took a class in belly dance - after decades of living dormant, stagnant and aimless ... It has "saved my life!" I tell everyone this ... But it has freed my spirit, opened my heart, and released my body once more. I can't imagine life without it. Thank you for sharing this. Stacey

  4. Thank you for saying something Stacey. I completely get the dorman, stagnant, aimless life. And you chose Belly dancing! Now that's brave! There is fire in the soul that style and it would absolutely open a spirit.

    You just inspired me too.

  5. beautiful! We all will remember & be reminded! I don't dance much but maybe I should now.. thank you

  6. I went back to ballet as a VERY mature adult, and the rigors of 3 to 5 90-minute classes a week for the last 10+ years have really taken their toll. It finally got bad enough that I've stopped again, a couple of months ago. It's really difficult to be away from that environment., though. I don't know whether I'll be able to stay away—even though it's no longer good for my body, my heart misses everything about the studio.

  7. I'm the choir to your comment. Thanks for saying something. It's good to hear even though I know pain...isn't so much.