Every Experience, Every Dance Step

UC Prompt #2: Tell us about a personal quality, talent, accomplishment, contribution or experience that is important to you. What about this quality or accomplishment makes you proud and how does it relate to the person you are?

I squint through tall, streaming light, trying to peer up at the towering stage. Sunbeams seem to pierce the very core of my head so I look down at my toes wriggling under the buttery, tan leather fabric of my tiny dance slip-ons. The fabric is actually so old, chosen months ago, but it seems untouched.

The air is suddenly sliced by Igor’s sharp shouts and threats, even more piercing in Russian: “Slow down and you will do it again and again! C'mon, are you old? Do you need a walking cane? I'll show you what I would do to you with that cane!” The hall fills with childish laughter: no one has ever taken the hulking man as meaner than a bunny. Lota, the dance choreographer, gently pats him on the back before noticing me. My throat instantly swells with the dry, stale air of this enormous room. At a puny 4 years old, I usually go unnoticed, but she easily spots me by the column I hide behind every single class. I have been discovered.

Patent black platforms disappear under folds of linen skirt as Lota appears under me, trying to gaze into my evading eyes. ”Sophia, are you still sick as you were last week?” I mutter a “Yes,” and fixate on the rows of speckled tile.

Replying to her call of duty, she returns to the stage to show the...

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