If you could see my face right now, you’d notice exceptional mascara smudges beneath my weary eyes. Thankfully all you see is a picture of the postcards on my wall.
Those of you who are close to me know my reputation for being very emotional. There was a lot of salt water leaking from my eyes today. It was so bad at one point that I couldn’t read Richard Scary to Lucy. (Hallelujah!)
Why so much emotion? Because as I wandered through my memory I discovered dozens – literally dozens – of beautiful people worthy of recognition. It was humbling and completely overwhelming. What have I done to deserve this stunning cast of characters from my past and present?! Absolutely nothing. God specializes in gracious abundance and I am beyond grateful.
So after sending out thanks to my high school English teacher, it seemed fitting to carry on in a similar direction. Today I honour my very first dance teacher.
Picture a slender French woman with a distinct accent and impeccable posture and poise. Now give her a reckless mane of curls, carefully pinned back but fighting for freedom. Give her faded black jeggings, the real ones from 1988. Now give her one name and one name only because a woman like her needs little more than three syllables. Call her Donita.
I have few vivid memories of Donita but I idolized her. She made an enormous impression on me in my early childhood. If only my toes looked like hers. If only I could bound across the room so effortlessly. If only I had that hair. (That hair!!!! It was iconic and she hasn’t changed it in over two decades. The internet told me so.)
I could go on about this woman for hours. If you grew up dancing, you understand what I’m channelling here. Dance teachers are legends in the eyes of children. Their influence looms large.
With the help of Donita, I explored movement and music. I spent much of my childhood climbing in and out of leotards. Apparently I possessed a gift, a language, and because of her abilities as a teacher, I learned to create and communicate with it. I owe so much to Donita and the other women who shaped me as a dancer over the eighteen years I spent pointing my toes.
Merci beaucoup, Donita. If we ever meet again, and I sincerely hope we do, I’ll buy us a nice bottle of French wine. Please wear you jeggings.