Dance chart swinging superheroes

Dance Steps

She had been dancing since she was five. Her aunt Sylvia was a ballet teacher who had her own dance studio. An older lady with a back as straight as ruler and hair in a tight bun on top of her head. Alicia had always been a little scared of her, but boy… that woman knew how to move. It all started out very classical – The Nutcracker, Swan Lake – that kind of stuff. Cute little girls running around in pink tutus and one dapper boy man enough to pursue his dancing dream. Sylvia stood by the side of the room. Her authority doubled by the large mirror, tapping the rhythm with her left foot while her keen face waited for any badly timed plié or arabesque. Alicia was a quick learner, endlessly executing her pirouettes and other elegant swan-like moves to near perfection.

Aunt Sylvia had big dreams for her. Perhaps projections of her own failed ambitions, perhaps simply the best wishes of a loving family member. Each year Alicia got the lead in the Ballet School’s annual production of a famous ballet. When she was twelve she danced her first Julia, by fifteen she danced Odile like she was on fire. All the other girls hated her the way only teenage girls can hate. Ugly ducklings next to Alicia’s elegantly moving Bird of Paradise. However, while she continued practicing on the barre five times a week, she had a sense something was missing. But she continued and got better.

Jumpin Jive

Then one day she saw a YouTube video of the Nicolas brothers* tap-dancing to a Cab Calloway medley. It looked so old-fashioned in black and white, the men in long tails, but their moves were as fresh as anything she’d ever seen. Two beautiful dancers moving in their own rhythm. The same movements, synchronized yet unique, both using their personal body language. She felt a contraction in the center of her chest, like when looking over a cliff, both breathtaking and vertiginous. It made her so excited, like a six-year-old learning the alphabet, finally capable of deciphering the daily signs that surround us. Like she was initiated into a secret society, an ancient clan of physically superior human beings. Swinging superheroes. These were the moves she had been waited for. Why she had been training her body for as long as she could remember.

Fayard and Harold Nicholas dance the stars away in this clip from the movie Stormy Weather (1943). The song is  Jumpin Jive by Cab Calloway and his orchestra. Their dance style, highly energetic and acrobatic is known as “flash dancing”. The clip has been colorized with DeOldify.

I wrote this short story after getting the following prompt from ineedaprompt: A tap-dancer running in a disgusting public bathroom.
Modern dance: Empty
SWIPE