I reflect things. I identify myself by identifying others. When people look at me, all they see are themselves and the world around them. And to be ever so particular, not just any “person” looks at me. Only dancers glance into my thinness. I remember the days when I was cast, delivered and placed on this enormous wall. My smaller family members were kindly shipped off to some cozy home, but what did I get? I didn’t get a small family that would eventually put me in a yard sale or forget to dust me. I became a studio mirror. I am the kind of 12' by 100' frame never meant for home life, but for a long career in the world of the Fine Arts. And to be quite honest, I wouldn’t want it any other way.
During the fifty years I have spent in this studio, a few educated, philosophical concepts have seeped into my glass. For instance, the truth that you can learn more about something by observing it from a distance, than to immediately participate in or with it. For many years, I was unhappy - doing nothing more than watching humans, specifically dancers, walking in and out of this studio. Life seemed incredibly meaningless. But, one day, the elderly teacher, Mr. Stanson, reproved his little toddler class. They were not observing and appreciating the beauty of a professional dancer contained in a little electronic, image-projecting machine called the “TV.” I realized that maybe I was being rather like those little toddlers adorned in pink things. So I began to try observing people - not to just sulk in the loneliness of the moving dark which surrounds me.
You learn quite a bit about the human nature when you see humans, but they never see you. You learn quite a bit about girls, too, when you spectate fifty years of female tendencies. But, I never get to know the teachers very well, since they always stand with their back to me. The teachers are all quite the same, although there have been some special ones, I’ll admit. The motherly and fatherly teachers, specifically. The ones who forget to look at the clock and end class remarkably late, or the ones who stay an hour later to counsel a ballerina who has been torn limb-by-limb by the cruel world out there. They are a kind souls... but the dancers are the most intriguing to me.
So many different kinds of dancers... yet, there is an identifiable consistency among them. They all come here, to this studio, to make something beautiful, something special, something set apart from whatever struggles they find in that vast world I’ve never seen. And they all struggle. Every young girl that comes in worries about how she looks in my eyes - tugging at her leotard or gazing at me with a very disappointed expression. Of course, I’ve learned not to take this personally, since all she is seeing is herself. I merely reflect to her what is real, and, in my opinion, remarkably beautiful, but she bends the reality I give her into a fraud reality. She’s quite unhappy, as are all of the girls like her. When I see them so concerned about how appealing their reflections are, I wonder what a deceitful world it must be beyond this studio to make them think that beauty is other than what it is. Fear and uncertainty. I see those things a lot.
Oh, and pride. It is rather a good thing I have no arms. Otherwise, I would be most willing to spank the little divas who think their presence heals the world of its wounds and mends the deepest cuts in the soul of man. I regret to say that pride is more common in this studio than I wish. I suppose when you have the ability to make something beautiful, like dance, you would feel entitled to something. Perhaps all those smirks, haughty eyes, cutting glances or confident poses are just trying to cover something beneath. The fact that no matter how they try, they will never actually be perfect at this. And that scares them. Rather like the moving darkness that I live in scares me, because I know no reality outside of it.
But, most of all I see beauty. And, oh, do I envy it! They have the ability to be beautiful! To make something! To bring into being that which is capable of being other than it is! And there are so many times I wish I was built to absorb this beauty, than just to reflect it. So many times I wish I could dance with them. But, I can’t. And I just wish sometimes they would be more grateful for the beauty they have all to themselves. My world is their eyes, their feet, classical music, and four walls. If only I could step out of this moving darkness, greet a world that begs for beauty and dance.
For the brilliant counterpart of this weekly themed concurrent writing project: http://thebeatlesandblackcoffee.blogspot.com