If you’ve seen the musical, A Chorus Line, you have seen exactly what my dreams and aspirations look like when I was a girl. Dance was my whole life. The wood floors, the mirrored walls, the rehearsals, learning new routines and combinations, smiling until your face ached, practicing until your body was limp with fatigue, stretching, kicking, spinning, and doing it all for the love of dance. “What I did for love.”
As I sat in the audience of a small theater last Saturday and listened once again to the brilliant lyrics of that musical, I was carried back to the bitter-sweet reality of my distant youth. As you may know, the show is about an audition for a musical. The story line is simple. There are a bunch of young, vibrant, talented dancers, trying out for only 8 positions in the chorus line, 4 boys and 4 girls. Each one has a poignant story about how they got to this stage at this time, trying out for this show. I could have been one of them, should have been one of them, if it hadn’t been for an eye disease, RP that was slowly, but steadily, robbing me of my sight and of my dream. As I listened to this music and imagined the dancing, my heart was right up there on stage with those kids.
The ironic part of this story is that I might never have made it that far, not because of lack of talent, but because I would not have been made of the same stuff, the same tough enduring strength that got them through extremes in their personal histories. I had only 1 mother and 1 father, who loved each other and who loved me. My home life was solid and organized, loving, and centered on me. I didn’t have drug or alcohol abuse or child abuse or homosexuality to complicate my life. How would I ever have fit in? And maybe I would never have made it on my self-perceived talent anyway, but I can still dream. Or I should say, I could still dream. Step ball change, kick, turn. “I can do that.” It never leaves your blood, once you’ve stepped on stage, danced your heart out, and feasted on the applause.
This theater chose not to offer audio description, even though I requested it, claiming that they don’t have the technology for that. Ten minutes before the show started on Saturday night was not the time to argue with the manager, but I suspect that if they knew there was a patron in the audience who was deaf, they would have provided an interpreter. Had they provided audio description, I could have seen in my mind’s eye each “little movement” they made. Instead, I had to rely on my imagination, based on memories of a bitter-sweet time in my life. Thisshow ran for 40 years, but the vicarious feelings live forever.