I know they are but words to you.
Words and chainé
and àl a seconde
and point your toes in the middle section.
And sweat on a thursday night when your homework is due
and your phone has 20 messages awaiting return
and the dog needs to be fed
-and you’re at dance class instead.

But to me they are a pivot.

The night my brother died.
An ugly flexed foot, sudden turn, out of line.
Where life was danced in reverse.
180 from the direction
I thought I was supposed to go,
was supposed to be,
was supposed to find.

I had to make a choice in my pain
about the path I’d choose to wind-
(words are my taps, my rhythms, my flaps)
and so I wrote that poem for you
about the choices we make in our lives.

I know they are but words to you
how many times have you heard them-
we become the love we give
we become the love we give
we become the love we give
But it’s true, We do, I did, You Will

Become the love you give
every second of your life-
each act, deed and thought shaping
your soul,
your heart,
your steps,
your soles,
your calluses don’t lie-
telling a story of hard work, choice and time.
I stood in ballet class once too
black leo, pink tights, straight spine
grand plié…

Until my knees flexed, my legs stretched, my feet ached.
And dance will force you to learn to dig deep
become the strength, heart, and grace you carry inside.

Thursday night I was watching you,
at rehearsal, the girl in the blue,
did you know those were my words,
that mine is the face behind the lines and rhymes?-
to a dance you’ve danced dozens of times.

But to me they are my blistered toes.

My jeté with a battle cry.
My unexpected floor work
and shuffle ball change
and being the kid in the back of the line-
who’s awaiting recognition,
then learns, who cares where you are put?
just dance your truth wherever you find yourself-
go be a light and shine.

Because life is way too short
to squander your gifts of joy and bright.
And each time you dance, you step, you act-
you make a choice
about who’ll you’ll be in this time.

I know they are but words to you,
(it’s your stage now, you’re young, this is your time.)
But I move
leave this place
leave this floor
leave this space
in only 3 months time.
Pack up my tap shoes, say goodbye, then find a new place in line,
(a piece of me will always remain, fare thee well studio 49.)

So this is my inner poet talking to you as I sit and write these rhymes.
A dancer too, I was once like you, and will leave with this advice:
Point your toes.
Go to ballet class.
Stretch your splits, souls, and kicks, and practice your acro tricks.
And please, show up for rehearsal on time.

Be your brightest dancing fools,
yet don’t take the outcome so seriously-
whoever you’ll be, you’ll become the love you need.
And know in the end the real dance
is who you choose to be in this life.