I sat backstage at our dance studio’s end of the year recital, but rather than lots of little kids on stage, there were older teenagers performing. Through sheer curtains that lined the wings, I watched them expertly perform choreography by modern dance icon Martha Graham. Though Ms. Graham passed in 1991, the studio had brought in an instructor from New York to teach her repertoire to the students. I was surprised that the studio had spent so much money to hire the instructor and that there were enough older, professional level students to perform.

I left the performance and returned to the studio, where I had to teach my Monday night jazz class. That night, Kirsten, the owner of the studio, was evaluating me as a teacher. For some reason, Lucas, a coworker from my full-time job, dropped by. We both thought it might be fun if he guest instructed my class. The students and I did several dance combinations across the floor as Lucas supervised. The music stopped playing, so Lucas checked the connection between his iPhone and the sound system. He then realized that he had an app open on his phone, which was interfering with the music. He closed the app, and Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” began.

The students lined up to do more combinations across the floor, and as the first student began, Lucas let out a shout of disgust. “UGH!” he yelled at the student. “UGH! I don’t care for it.” Kirsten walked by and told Lucas, “I’m sorry, you need to find something else to say.” Confused as to what was going on and why this man was teaching the class, she dismissed everyone in the studio except for a few students who needed to rehearse for an upcoming performance. I had a feeling that I was going to be in trouble, because I was supposed to be teaching and instead allowed someone who insulted the students to teach instead. I would not do well on my evaluation and would probably lose my job at the dance studio.

As Lucas left the studio, he called out, “You owe me a slushie tomorrow!” Outraged, I stomped across the studio and yelled at Lucas. “I don’t owe you a slushie. You ruined EVERYTHING, and you’re going to spend the rest of the week making up for it.” I walked away crying and shouted through tears, “PLEASE LEAVE.”

I watched through the window as Lucas left, and our other coworker, Lance, met him outside. They had driven to the studio together, and Lance went to get dinner while Lucas taught class. As they left the parking lot, Kirsten asked me and another teacher, Lindsey, to get ready for rehearsal. We would be performing at a new church, Epicenter, for its grand opening celebration. This church would be the “epicenter” of the arts. We would rehearse and perform there before any of the congregation would enter or even see the building.

As we prepared to rehearse, I was responsible for starting up the music, which I couldn’t find. I was now even more nervous that I would be in trouble, because on top of the teaching fiasco, I had lost the CDs for our performance. I soon found them in a yellow folder by the window. We began rehearsal with a series of plies, releves, and turns. Kirsten mentioned that part of the performance would be a leaf dance, but we wouldn’t use real leaves until later.

[When Lucas walked into the office this morning, he had a container of Rice Krispie treats and chocolate-covered pretzels. I told him he had been redeemed from ruining my life.]


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