Alicia is hosting Maffick Monday. Her prompt is ‘Write about a terrible dancer.’ Thanks, Alicia – hope you enjoyed your camping J
(I’m rather late with my submission.)
You don’t realise the true size of someone until you see them in a leotard, thought Sylvia. Fully clothed, her daughter Miranda looked quite elegant and rather pretty. She was tall and broad shouldered and had the milky skin that so often goes with tawny hair.
She had taken ballet classes since she was five and participated each year in the shows her dancing teacher organised. She was now seventeen and nearly six feet tall and the summer show would be her last appearance. In the autumn she was going to university and her dancing days would be behind her.
Sylvia had encouraged her daughter to continue dancing, realising early on that Miranda was going to develop into a big girl and would need the discipline of dance or sport to coordinate her limbs. Miranda had never been interested in athletics or games, didn’t care for swimming and was content to continue ballet lessons.
First onto the stage tripped the little girls and one small boy. They looked so sweet as they galloped about to the music. One of the children was very lissom and floated across the stage like thistledown. Miranda had never been like that, Sylvia thought, a little sadly. The more advanced classes followed, consisting mostly of girls with one or two boys. The differences in physique were more noticeable in the older students. Some were slim and fine-boned and in perfect proportion while others were undergoing the trials of sudden growth spurts when limbs didn’t quite match heads or trunks. Miranda had often seemed rather ungainly in her early teens but now looked much more balanced.
At last it was the turn of Miranda’s class to perform. They wore pointe shoes which clonked across the wooden boards. Each dancer in turn performed a short solo and then they danced an ensemble piece. Miranda stood head and shoulders above the rest of the chorus. She had not been placed in the centre where her mother had expected her to be but off to one side, almost out of view. Sylvia wondered why but as they danced she began to understand the reason. Miranda was always half a beat behind the others. Through the years Sylvia had noticed that her daughter’s timing was slightly askew when she played the piano or her guitar but she had never recognised until now just how poor Miranda’s sense of timing was. As she reflected on this she realised it had got worse as the years rolled by.
That evening, over dinner, Miranda confided in her mother that she was glad she would never have to dance on stage again. ‘You know, Mum, everybody thinks I’m a terrible dancer, but I’m glad I stuck at it. My timing’s dreadful but dancing has taught me how to hold my head up high and always do my best.’ Sylvia smiled and squeezed her daughter’s hand.