Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: STORM (10/05/17)
- TITLE: Dancing With My Hands
By Bonnie Bowden
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I peek out of the heavy velour curtain and spot a sea of faces waiting for the performance to begin; my first solo with the Contemporary Dance and Cultural Center. It has been a hard-fought struggle to get this far, and I can’t even ponder what it will mean if I fail.
The voices of doubt fill my head.
Why am I different?
My father tilts my chin up, so I can lip-read his words.“Why do you have to be like others?”
But how can I dance, if I can’t hear, except the lowest notes?
“Sign language is a kind of dance. So in a way, you’ve already been expressing your emotions with your hands.”
I remember a text I got from someone I considered a friend: Why don’t you quit wasting your time and ours. Deaf people can’t dance.
I almost quit, but I decide to prove her wrong instead. So I practice, practice, practice until my feet are bloodied. I can’t let my dream die.
My interpreter taps me on the shoulder, signaling it’s my turn. I walk on stage waiting for the song, “Invisible” to start. My bare feet feel the sound waves of the bass as I begin. The pace of the music quickens and I jump and spin with more intensity. The stage is all mine and I am carried away into the world of my imagination. My movements are fluid as I gradually extend my sculpted leg and twirl my hips from left to right. I rotate my wrists in a circular motion and raise them up high. After I finish my passe, tendue, releve, and pirouette gracefully, I smile like a Cheshire cat.
This dance expresses my life story. Not only is my disability invisible, but I sometimes feel unseen in a world of hearing people. I’ve always wanted to be understood. In half of my routine, I dance hidden in the shadows. Then at the end, I come out of the darkness and into the brilliance of the spotlight.
As the music trails off, tears fill my eyes as I see the audience clapping, In the front row sit my mom and dad, clapping the loudest with their hands in the air signing “applause.”
I have become God’s temporary vessel that the dance resides in … until the stage fades to black.
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