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Show Time

Wednesday, April 5th, 2023

Tonight, it's showtime.

I'm writing from the large dressing room. The one that welcomed me with open arms for my first dance steps on stage. I remember it like it was yesterday. I love this room and I wish I could visit it whenever I want, because I really feel safe here. It holds so many beautiful memories.

When I was 4 or 5 years old, the table was too high. My mother had dropped off my older sister and me, and we were among the first to arrive. I remember eating the delicious hard-boiled egg sandwich she had prepared for me. It had a soft, fluffy taste. For about a decade, I had the chance to return to this dressing room at every end-of-year concert I performed in. It was the dressing room for the most experienced girls of the dance school so I didn't always have access to it...

Later on, I came back dancing here with my dance company. A first time to present a solo and then with my dancers from New York. This dressing room, this theater, saw me grow up.

I didn't understand why my father asked me earlier if I needed a sandwich before I left for the theater. It's probably Mom who suggested him to ask me... I told him that it wasn't necessary, because the festival prepared food for me (after all, it's my job now). I found the intention sweet. The theater saw me grow up, but not my parents.

I love the dressing room, I love the theater, and I also love this stage. It's beautiful, it's big, and I feel a lot of gratitude for taking my first steps as a dancer here.

I remember that strange and exciting moment of being on stage with my little dance buddies. No one had really explained us what was going to happen. We had rehearsed, of course, but the room was always lighten up. Then came the moment to step onto the stage. Applause. We entered. In front of us, a pitch black followed by a blinding light. I could hear and feel the breathing of the people in front of us, the presence of our parents, our families, but I couldn't see them. The choreography was simple. We knew it by heart. I pretend to comb my hair, then the gesture gets bigger. I pretend to put on lipstick, I pretend to put on my shoes, and I turn, I turn around them with small steps. On stage, we played the role of being mothers. At 5 years old, it was cool to play grown-up.

I remember that warm and bright light. I remember that the little girl behind me was frightened. She probably didn't like the shock of going from the shadow of the backstage to the bright lights of the stage. She cried a lot throughout the dance.

I remember that I farted on stage (probably out of fear) and that I was embarrassed. My mother laughed when I told her, and I thought about quitting dancing forever because of that incident.

At five years old, we don't know it yet, but these are the moments that shape us. Today, in this dressing room, I understand why I feel safe here. I exhale, and the calm that emanates from this room inspires me. At five years old, I didn't know what to expect when I stepped onto the stage. I didn't even wonder, and no one could explain to me what I was going to experience. Thirty-one years later, I know that the first steps I took on this stage were magical and brought me here. Tonight, I can't wait to dance the duet that I transformed into a solo and that I created.

I am not officially a mother, yet I have carried many creations. Today, as I think about the spotlights that will light up, the melodious music that Marion will play on the piano, I feel lucky. This artist's life is beautiful. I am getting ready to bring the little girl that I was with me, and I can't wait to make her dance on stage again. It's 7:10 PM, and tonight, I am joyful, motivated, and dreamy.

Signed: The little dancing hummingbird of Madagascar - FODY KELINAY MANDIHY*

*Nickname given by my dear uncle Bekoto after he saw the photos of the show.


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