The images before my eyes were dreamlike in the late afternoon California sun. Although I was standing at the entrance to a local junior high school auditorium, I entered a world that felt timeless and yet lasted only for a moment.
My mind was a camera, snapping images of young girls in ballet costumes, first onstage, and then mingling with their proud families. The young dancers seemed like otherworldly visitors. They were sweet, fairy like creatures wrapped in layers of pastel tulle, accented with colorful flowers, ribbons and sequins. Their hair was meticulously pinned back in a bun, belying the usual childhood disarray. Their eyes were shining, a mixture of excitement and pride of accomplishment. Their carefully made up faces, all happy smiles and pink cheeks,were a tantalizing glimpse of young womanhood that just waits around a corner for them.
I was at a recital for one of my granddaughters who has resumed ballet training after growing bored with it for a year. She glowed onstage. I was surprised to feel tears in the corners of my eyes. I knew immediately that she was loving dance, as she hadn’t before. She had presence, grace and poise. She lifted herself effortlessly off the ground in a jeté. I could not have been happier!
These precious childhood moments, I understood, will soon be gone. She may or may not continue to dance, for a wide variety of reasons. The costumes will come off, the hair let down and childhood will resume again, until that too, remains just a memory.
But today was hers and mine. We’d locked eyes while she was dancing, sharing mutual happiness. She transcended the ordinary and for just a few moments she took me with her.