The narrow staircase of a dance studio has special meaning for me. I walked up my first important stairway to dance at age 13. It was downtown Riverside, California at a magical place called Studio 9. Ever the latebloomer, I was too old for the kid classes and had start in an adult class. This turned out for the best. It is my fashion to do things in a roundabout way.
The space was small and a little awkward, just like me, so I felt immediately at home. I was taking classes and performing with a group of people who were unique and imaginative and kind. It was my first exposure to real creative collaboration and to the unique bonds of friendship that remain long after the curtain closes. That staircase led me straight to my self.
In the decades since, I have ascended many staircases to many different studios. No matter where I am or what else is going on, once I start to walk up those stairs, I feel the intrinsic sense of peace that comes from doing what you love.
A dance studio welcomes me with its vastness, and invites me to send my movements out completely, the space able to contain all that I have to say. The floor supports my revelations and the mirrors show me truth without the distortion of judgment. Studios know me well because within their walls I have discovered my authenticity and expressed it fully.
This week the Studio where I currently teach dance is closing. I have been teaching and dancing in that space for 6 years. It has seen multiple owners and gone through many transitions. But the walls, the floor, the mirrors have remained steady and open to receive the dance.
Hundreds of us have danced together in this space and have made lasting, treasured connections, some of them unspoken. Because to share in a dance is to be connected in a meaningful way, no words needed.
The dancing will continue, there will be a new space to receive us, but I will miss this studio greatly. It has seen so much of me and I have experienced so much within it, images that will be with me always. I thank it for accepting every movement, those born of joy and those born of pain, equally and without commentary.
I relish the opportunity to walk up its stairs to these final classes with love and to honor it by dancing wholeheartedly within its embrace.