Day 136: Who Am I in a Group? Dancing with a Ghost

In my previous blog I shared my experience in joining a dance company and specifically my experience of myself within the group that I really enjoyed. Nothing would seem to change that, until a week before the premier of our new production. It was a Saturday morning. One of the girls said she wouldn't be able to come because she had planned a weekend to the beach with her boyfriend, they had left straight after rehearsal the night before, all excited. So there we were in the studio and our choreographer told us she had received a phone call from the girl's parents. On the way to the beach, the girl and her boyfriend had gotten in a car crash. The boyfriend was okay, but the girl had been sleeping on the backseats without her sea tbelt and was flung through the windscreen. She didn't survive the crash. No need to say we were soon all in tears after hearing the news - more so because she was only 17, the second youngest dancer in the group.

From being a happy worriless bunch, we started trying to keep it together and pull each other up. We revised the production in a week's time so it could be performed with one less dancer, as well as adding in a whole section in tribute of her. There was one particular moment in the performance where she would normally be standing right behind me - the lyrics going 'Will you dance with me?'. Although I wouldn't be able to see her - I would always feel her presence. And after she died, whenever we got to this particular section, I would feel her absence. Somehow we managed to pull off the premier without problems - until the moment of bowing and everyone applauding - we all burst into tears on stage.

We danced at her funeral at the request of her parents - that time we were already in tears before we started.

Although we all tried to support each other the best we knew how and everyone tried to mourn her loss in their own way, trying to move forward as a group and somehow managing to - her death to me was like a 'stain' on what we had as a group - and without consciously intending to, I became more reserved. I also didn't like how the girl was glorified after she died - there had been some tensions between her and the choreographer as the reason she had joined the company was in relation to a school project where she would merge hip hop with contemporary dance and perform it with the company as her 'final work' for school. She would be choreographing it together with our choreographer and in that process they didn't always see eye to eye - but that was not discussed. She was an angel now.

To be continued.