For ninety minutes a week, the world I experience is a musical place with classic jazz or Broadway tunes accented by the sounds of fourteen tap shoes slapping and flapping and stomping across a studio floor. This is Andria’s Dancin’ on the Door School of Dance.
I am usually in the back row, trying to make up for the weeks I am not here. My face might look intense as muscles struggle to remember the drop heel move or shuffle through a few steps to get back in the beat. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, step. One, two, three, step. One, two, three, step. Spine relaxed, fingers wanting to snap, this is a safe haven in the universe. Music, movement, companionship without pressure.
That’s where I was when the news was released that Prince died on Thursday. Rushing from tap class to a board meeting, car windows down in fifty-degree weather, I focused on cooling off during the short drive. The car radio was off as Route 66, the last routine we rehearsed, flowed through my mind. No one mentioned his death during greetings as Board members settled into chairs.
This is the way of life. My very good morning is someone’s morning from hell, or last one on earth. We share joy and grief because we are human, not because we are friends or relatives or neighbors. With Prince’s passing, millions feel the loss of his artistry and energy although most have never met him.
April has not always been my easiest month. My only sibling, also in his late fifties, died one April Saturday morning taking his dog for a walk. Which is part of the reason I am at Andria’s Dancin’ on The Door School of Dance. For ninety minutes a week, I can push back against most of what troubles me when she turns on the music and the magic begins.
Prince and I are close in age and height. I am not willowy, mysterious or gifted. Yet what he created flows through my soul and stitches me with the most fragile of threads to those who celebrate his life in dance parties, clubs, movie theaters or their own homes. I will be here, celebrating life while tapping out the grief.