Saturday, November 18, 2006

Give me a BEAT!

When I met him several years ago I was immediately fascinated by his career and current position. He was at that time, and still is, the only Black male that I know personally that dances with a professional ballet company. The guys I occasionally see out at the clubs on Saturday night wanted to be what he really was – a ballerina.

The first time I had the pleasure of seeing him on stage was during one of his company’s performances of The Nutcracker. From beginning to end I was in love with the production and with every leap that he took, I felt like I and the rest of the audience was taking it with him. He along with his colleagues, were wonderful dancers and great entertainers.

The next day I called him to tell him how much I enjoyed the show. He seemed happy to accept the compliments but rather unbothered by my breakdown of the night before. After I went on and on for a while he finally stopped me and told me why he wanted to move on to the next stop – which was unusual because he generally loves talking about himself. He told me that as much as he loves dance and as much as he loves to dance professionally, The Nutcracker is his least favorite piece and he hated performing in it year after year. I was dumbfounded. He sure seemed happy as a kid at Christmas on stage to me.

But everything isn’t always as it appears to be.

I asked him how did he get up there night after night and look so jubilant and perform so well when really he would have rather been anywhere but there. He took a small breath and said, “I go to that dressing room. I sit in silence. I focus on the fact that no matter what I feel like doing, I get paid for hopping and twirling on that stage and I’m at work so I’m going to hop and twirl. Then I beat my face and the show goes on.”

For the past few months I think I too have been beating my face and dancing in The Nutcracker. This sugar plum fairy needs to find a more fitting company and piece.

Today makes it more than a week since I cut off all communication with The Wiz. It took me a long time to get to the point where I could do what I knew was best and the healthiest thing for me. I’d wrestled with the disconnect for months, often afraid of what it would be like if we didn’t speak, if our friendship faded. But each day that we grow further apart I feel better and better and like I’m empowering myself. I know that getting rid of what was old brings space and renewed energy for what is good and new. More importantly, the thing that I am most happy about is that the thing that I feared most didn’t occur. He is gone now and my heart is still beating. I keep going on.

I’ve decided to spend just about all of next week and next weekend in New York City. I haven’t had a vacation since early this summer. This time away is much deserved and needed. This Thanksgiving I will be giving thanks for the love of God, family, friends and all that the universe has brought to me and helped me share with others. I also plan to give thanks for the beats the dj’s are going to be bringing at Luke and Leroy’s.

It has been far too long since I’ve had my way with New York clubs, bars and nightlife. It has been even longer since I’ve had my way with a brother from Brooklyn, the Bronx or a real Man from Manhattan. Perhaps next week I will gobble one up in honor of the holiday.

Nothing beats having a good time.