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Written 2.17.21

“Do you want to tell her or should I?”

I sit down on the studio floor still panting from my vulnerable efforts, trying to conform my body into an “I’m ready to receive feedback in a professional and open way” shape. I settle on a neutral spine with my legs crisscrossed and my hands in my lap; only moving to wipe the sweat off my forehead every few minutes.

Big sigh “…Uh…what do you want to do with your life?”

“Well I was going to say ‘dance’ but I don’t think that’s a good answer now?”

“It wasn’t good, Eileen. It just wasn’t.”

I start to bite the inside of my cheek and scream at the burning behind my eyes. Just hold it together until you can get out of here.


“I mean…you’re pretty and you can kind of sing…maybe you should consider Musical Theater?”

The rest is a blur. I maybe responded to a question or two, I might have just nodded here and there, I don’t remember much, just the nausea in the base of my belly and the waves of heat running up and down my body. I do know that I thanked the Dean and Associate Dean of Dance at the end of my juries (which is a fancy word for “assessment” or “evaluation”), because that’s what a dancer does even after they’ve been ripped apart.

We thank those who have criticized, judged and dismissed our art…our efforts…our bodies…our hearts. We pride ourselves on pushing through pain, taking up just enough space, expressing ourselves within very strict parameters.

How is it possible to silence even our unspoken voice?

I walk / run to my car, slamming the door and hanging my head, sobbing immediately. I am embarrassed. I feel stupid. Small even. Their “assessment” of my talent, or lack thereof, feels like they took turns pressing on a bruise; over and over again.

How is it possible to be weeks away from moving to NYC to attend a professional training program at one of the most prestigious dance schools in the world and be bad at dancing?



This post is part of "The Eileen Show" Series

A vignette collection of memories, mis-attunements and messy moments that have limited, spiraled and propelled me within and throughout my life.

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