the last show


IMG_8126 IMG_8124 IMG_8090 there is so much i want to say, there is a lot i'm afraid i'll leave out. my days of dancing are over at last. this past weekend was emotionally difficult and overly joyous. that's a lot to feel at one time. some of the happiest moments were spent in my dressing room of the theater with my friends. laughing and sharing stories and goofing off. helping each other change costumes at the speed of light in between numbers. stretching with our feet propped on chairs or walls or whatever. my whole dance experience would never have been so amazing without the people i spent it with. they're the ones who were there every step of the way. the ones who literally were the reason i was on cue and in the correct place half the time. the ones who made it what it was. and i'm going to miss those girls.
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when i was three years old, i performed in a recital. my ballet shoes stepped onto the sticky and glitter laden black floor of the stage for the first time. my tutu was as big as i was, dazzling with white and blue sequins. i looked out into the dark room filled with people, past the bright lights that nearly blinded me. i didn't know it then, but that was the beginning of a journey. for the next fifteen years of my life, i would dance.
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i cannot compare any feeling to what happens on that stage. before the show starts, the dancers gather in a circle that fills the entire space. we clasp hands and stand in first position. there is a prayer of thankfulness and for safety. feeling the person next to me squeeze my hand, i squeeze the hand of the person on my other side, as the action spreads all the way around. its a way of calming our fears and our worries. and its a reminder that the show is a team effort, that we're all in this together. then we scatter to our places and wait for the it to begin.
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 standing there in the wings, concealed by giant curtains. over the years of being here, the nervousness has turned to excitement. a readiness to be out there dancing. the cue comes, i recognize the music as my time to step out. then it happens; a rush. the enormous room goes still and all eyes are on us, the dancers. i am focused and energized and suddenly i'm dancing. my arms unfold and my legs extend just like i practiced for months. almost involuntarily, i don't have to think about it, i just do it. the way i have been performing for years. its like second nature to me.
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saturday night, my instructor introduced the graduating seniors for the fourth time, gave us each a quick embrace. the crowd applauded and watched as we lifted our right arms and bowed. it was my last bow. i'm not much for crying, especially around other people. but that gut-wrenching reality i felt inside from the knowing that was my last show, really hit me hard. and so i cried, trying to smile and not let the mascara run.
IMG_8138 IMG_8139 IMG_7514 IMG_8133 i will attend the recitals to come and watch as my friends perform. i'll probably cry when their time comes to leave as well. my little sister will hopefully continue on as i did. because dance is so much more than pretty poses and leaps. its more than just performing. more than stage make up and block rehearsals and interesting shoes. more than the music we hear or the moves we make. its a passion. i've crossed paths with people i won't forget. i've gained perseverance and endurance and many memories. walking through the doors of the studio each week has taught me that working hard for what you want, is always worth it. i wouldn't have traded that for anything.


  1. These pictures are so so good!!! I can't wait to get my disk on Saturday!

  2. Madison. Oh wow. This brought back so many memories for me. I've never danced seriously, but it reminds me of my experiences with theatre and acting. And you're so, so right--it's so much more than just entertaining people for a night on stage. It's a passion--a huge passion.
    The way you describe those moments backstage of anticipation and excitement...and the ones as you enter the stage light with a sudden calm because you just know that you've got this...and then at the very end of the last performance when you know you'll never be doing it again and it's all a confusing bittersweet--I so get taht. My cast would even do the hand-squeezing thing before shows. I totally know the feeling.
    Ahh. I'm going to stop rambling now. This made me happy, and you all are beautiful, and thanks a lot for making me acting a ton. ;)

  3. This is such a heartfelt and beautifully written post! Love it. :)

  4. AHH I seriously love this! So beautiful!

  5. So beautiful, Madison. Last year, I acted in my last Shakespeare play as Portia in the Merchant of Venice, and it's just such an incredible experience to be with wonderful people and all be helping each other and the exhilaration of being on stage. We also, before each performance, would stand in a circle, grasping each other's hands and "pass the love" while saying a prayer.

  6. Oh Madison! I loved reading this! The way you described how you felt brought me back to how I felt when I was in theater last year. Dancers and actors are similar in that all they work together, help eachhother, and work hard at what they do because they love it. I cried on the day of the last performance of the play I was in as well. I knew I was going to miss the friends that I had made. It's really amazing...acting was hard but it was also just so rewarding and helped me to grow. It was simply a thrilling experience. I can relate to how you feel. Yes, I just loved reading this. You are a brilliant writer.



  7. So beautiful Madison! I loved reading this, so sweet and sad at the same time. Great post and photos!

  8. This is perfect. Seriously. Being a dancer myself, I related to every single word... Beautiful, just beautiful.

    ~ Abby

  9. wow, what a lovely post, and pictures! it's nice of you to show your passion and share with us your thoughts xx

  10. Wow, what an amazing post... I loved all of the photos, and everything you said was so full of emotion, I felt every word of it. :) Now I wish I could dance... haha :)

  11. this makes me cry... you put into words like everything i feel! GAH.

  12. BEAUTIFUL pictures dear! oh those moments when sometime really good comes to and end... it's hard, but I'm sure you had great moments and you'll always have the memories with you, that's the best :)

  13. oh, so beautiful Madison. I can tell dancing is a true passion for you. Stunning post <3


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