The gratitude continues.
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 during 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 channeling 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 your jeggings.