Everyone has a back story but mostly it is hidden from view. I have a back story that began in a creative project but transported me to a different place and removed me from others. It has stayed my constant companion all my life. This back story will be shared here but perhaps not in its entirety. You will join the dots, I am sure.
Today I write the beginning as I remember it now over 30 years after it happened. I was 17 and in the middle of a dance production playing the part of Eurydice. If you don’t know the story take some time now to Google it.
It was a residential project and I was in a dorm where I didn’t belong. I was in a dorm where superiority ruled and I was in the inferior. The other girls all went to private school. I went to a village comprehensive before going to a sixth form college and my world was not theirs. They clung together latching onto a girl called Miranda who is horrid through and through. They all hated me but I didn’t hate them. I didn’t have the energy for hate.
Day one of rehearsals was audition day for the main part of Eurydice. You know I got the part but not how. We dance the shortest of sequences and then we took class which was brutal. I limped to my bunk bed at the end of day 1 and listened to ‘them’ predicting who would get the part of Eurydice. Miranda made herself favourite and everyone agreed; of course they did.
Early on day two we were drawn into a huddle for parts to be given. They were all gone and I hadn’t got anything. Miranda hadn’t got anything either but then the part of Eurydice hadn’t been given to anyone. The Director started with a pre-prepared speech about the physical demands of the part of Eurydice and my heart sank. Then he closed his eyes and I think we all did the same and I have no idea why.
Within seconds bedlam broke out and I opened my eyes to witness looks of shock mixed with real hatred and it was all directed at me. I hadn’t heard a word. I had missed the big announcement that Miranda was to be the understudy to Eurydice and I was to dance the part of Eurydice. I understood the hatred and I felt it enter my soul.
The rehearsals were intense and challenging. Every time I made a mistake the girls huddled together and giggled. Every evening in the dorm I was left completely alone while they took the party elsewhere.
Somehow day by day I lost focus with them and I moved into Eurydice’s world. The Director was brutal with his criticism and I began to stay on at the end of the day desperate to get one bit of it right. The battle was both mind and body. The body was bruised and battered and stretched completely out of shape but the mind was transported to a new place that was dark and lonely, but completely thrilling. The part of Orpheus became lodged deep in my soul and beyond the lad who was actually playing the part. He was far too young to play the part of Orpheus and I replaced him with my own version who was more sinister, deeply erotic and mind blowing. He took me to a place I had never been to before.
On the day of the performance the silly girls clung to their Miranda who had left me a note on my bed telling me I was the worst lead dancer she had ever seen. Miranda hated me but I didn’t hate her because she was irrelevant.
As the chorus created the scene that was to be my entrance I felt a tap on my shoulder and I turned round expecting to see Miranda but instead I saw him. He gently lifted me into his arms and held me so tight that our bodies became one. He then placed me down as gently as he could just on my cue to move. My very first movement of Eurydice ached with desire and a new intention was born. I had arrived at my destination. The entire part of Eurydice was danced with a passion that I have rarely felt since. In the moments that created the performance I became the woman I wanted to be.
As the performance came to its inevitable conclusion and the sense of doom fell over the room my final movement lingered beyond the music and all sound was lost. Then, from the edges, came the soft sound of someone clapping. As my eyes focused I realised that he was standing right in front of me and he was clapping so the world around me joined in and I dropped my eyes.
I was last to leave the dorm hoping everyone would have departed with their families before I emerged. I was wrong. They were all there waiting in one of their secret huddles. On the table was the musical score and they had all signed it with little messages. I barely spoke as I thanked them for their kind words and headed for the door. I needed oxygen. Then I felt it. A tap of my shoulder and then a hand in mine and my eyes dropped once more as I walked out of the door and into my new life. True to the production I turned to glance back one last time as I left and there she was staring at me with so much hate in her eyes.