Onstage you always smile

Lorena onstage b&w

“Remember girls, onstage you have to look happy. Always! You have to smile when you dance. When you dance here on a real stage, you have to forget about your tiredness, about your parents, about the public, you have to forget everything except the desire to dance well. Dance to your best ability, dance with joy, always with a smile on your face. Your hands and feet know what to do, now you have to dance your best and smile. It must be the smile of acknowledgment of your effort, of your ability. Your hardest work is the best celebration and joy you will have in life.”

“Please do not dance just to have fun, do not just do something for the sake of doing something. Always do the best you can, do it with purpose, with passion, strive, work hard. Now you have seen the lights turned upon you, wearing a beautiful dress, wearing makeup, may be for the first time in your life. Do you know what it means?”

“This beautiful dress is a part of celebration of your effort and your ability. This dress represents your purpose, it accounts for every hour your spent dancing to be on this stage, it is the beauty of your hard work. Wear it with pride! Wear it with a smile! You are the true owner of this dress now!”

“Today is your last rehearsal, tomorrow the public will be watching you. Forget everything except how well you can dance! Your chin always up, a smile, and only think about the best you can perform! In this accomplishment and in the celebration of it lies the happiness.”

Those were the words of the ballet instructor to the girls who were about to perform onstage for the first time in their lives. Skirts, tutus, little feet running behind the stage. People in black hurrying around, gesticulating, the dresses being steamed, girls rehearsing in the halls, makeup artists, voices. Music, more little feet running up and down the stairs. “The door one?” “Ready.”

I generally do not put the portraits of my daughter on this blog. However, I made an exception this time. I find these two portraits to be a reflection of what she was able to do. I did those shots behind the stage, at night, after the last rehearsal was over. She was very tired. I asked her if she was afraid of dancing onstage and she said she wasn’t. And added that she wants to go back onstage. She just turned six.

Lorena after her baller rehearsal

2 thoughts on “Onstage you always smile

  1. Your title and article reminded me a bit of something I’d heard as a young one: Life is a stage. The advice to the girls applies across so many areas of life… If only we could always be as unafraid and eager to go back out and perform again, and again, and again…

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