On cartonne ? Or the art of changing in 15 seconds

By Nastassia Maes

On a night where so many things could have gone wrong, everything fell into place.

Adrenaline is a special thing. There is really nothing quite like it. Perhaps a better description would be ‘the most underrated drug in history.’ It spills out, spreading like a bright, maddeningly frustrating and confident stain on the new pair of pants or the new shirt you bought just two, three days ago. Suddenly, time, gravity and the very physics of this world are muted; it is as if everything is put on hold, for the sake of dance. All that remains is the stage and us. A hyper-aware ‘us.’

One thing that often remains unnoticed is the stark change of scenery dancers undergo. We become so accustomed to practicing in a bright room with tall mirrors, with nothing but our critical yet secretly cautious and curious eyes trying to catch a small snap of ourselves. All this, our safe space, is shattered and swept away when we perform. The shock of having and seeing an audience is nothing short of the shock when one is electrocuted. It fizzles, bursts, leaving you dazed. And yet the music continues to play, it enjoys the chase as you try to grab and control it, trying to catch up. Time to trust your brain and muscle memory. The two are absolutely mind-boggling. How we manage to dance, change, and stay, or at least pretend to be, calm is beyond me. It is as if we slip into a different skin yet when we dance our inner feeling pour out exhaustively. A beautiful torrent of clear, confused, warm, dangerous, loud emotions.

That moment where everyone applauds? Dangerously intoxicating. So thank you for helping us break the law for one night. It felt good. In the end, as much as we like to complain, there is not a chance we would give up on dance.

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