Jade Kamailemakanaaloha Sohriakoff
9 February 2017
Word Count = 1023
Black with a matte finish
Internally, nothing changes besides the increase of my heart rate. The ground below me remains black, specifically black with a matte finish. Sometimes my foot slips on stage, but I need to adjust in time for the next beat. The horizon on stage brightly moves through hues of red, yellow, blue, or purple lights. [THESIS] I call this home, the place that grounds me with purpose, the stage. [THESIS]
Being on stage was an assumed practice since I was five years old. While my single mother struggled to raise me, it was initially an atmosphere that fostered learning. I blossomed on stage by extending every muscle and limb to hurdle over emotions which weren’t encouraged to be verbally expressed. My grandma always stated “There is more to life than shiny things”, and I still move with this unwavering truth. The atmosphere on stage lighted my horizon as a child, but not in a glittering or exciting way. The stage empowered me to see beyond bright lights, and withhold from worrying about what people thought.
Before it was time to dance, I dangled my little toes off stage as if I were testing an unfamiliar body of water. At five years old, I was not expected to understand what “stage fright” felt like. Soon enough I grasped fear before dancing, but I learned to fly with the butterflies; rather than let them hold me back. The stage provided an interesting view for me while my mom was working. More importantly, it pushed me to create my own views in life. When I started dancing hula, my time on stage was much more than a place to dance. The stage is a place that facilitates me to perpetuate lifelong values. It was something I had to discover from the inside, and luckily I get to rediscover it every day.
As my mother was working to provide for me, I simultaneously began my own work on stage. From my car-seat, I enjoyed glancing at crashing waves as my mom drove me to a stage on the other side of the island. At twelve years old, on my way to a stage in New Mexico I was intrigued by the the jade green hues of mountains. At sixteen years old, on my way to a stage in Tahiti, I indulged my soul in the crystal clear ocean. At eighteen years old, on my way to a stage in North Carolina, my parents were initializing their divorce papers to completely split up.
At nineteen years old, on my way to a stage in New York, I put my head down to cry out most of the sodium content in my body. Next time I got on stage, my grief disappeared as the first song cued me to dance. My tears tasted like the ocean, so I visualized my favorite beach; I adjusted right in time. Ultimately, the stage is my home, it is the place that defines my purpose.
At twenty two years and present, I am always on my way to a stage in Waikiki. This individual stage holds the most significance to my life. The lights change colors while rapidly switching directions, it’s nearly blinding. The audience changes like an airport terminal, the crowd is always made of different origins. Speaker systems beside me continuously output beautiful rhythms and melodies. I dance hula here for a precious hour of nonexistent distractions. There is a certain song that brings me into the greatest depths of passion. I blissfully billow with this melody like I’m floating with the ocean. This song arrives like a familiar bridge into the moment. This is where I realize I am home, and where my purpose is internally redefined. This is the stage that grounds me, and carves out my daily purpose. I professionally dance hula to survive, but professionally it is just to “survive”.
Two months ago I experienced a surreal moment while I was performing. I was going through conflict in my personal life at the time. This conflict had a significant effect on me for days straight. During the time, I was standing backstage waiting for my favorite song to start. Before this song cued, I was hesitant because this conflict was taking me over. Naturally, I had to assure every cell in my body that it would be okay. I had a shiny green cellophane skirt on, a bright floral top, and I was submerged in plumeria leis. The second I stepped on stage, I used every movement to sweep away the conflict. My arms forced a crisp wind to blow away the conflict, like it was simply a particle in the air. I used my feet to nimbly dodge the conflict, like sprinting from lightning bolts. Suddenly something happened which had not previously occurred in my whole dance career. Half way through the song, I forgot I was physically present on the stage. I could only see the shore of Ala Moana beach in front of me. I was cross-stepping my feet, and my arms were only moving to keep me from tipping off of my board. In this moment I was surfing, the stage was my board, and the lights in front of me was my shore. It lasted for thirty seconds, and it was the best wave of my life.
No matter how tremendously the tribulations tore me off of stage, I always had to dance on stage. When I’m faced with a tribulation, I dance and face it with grace. If I’m intrigued with butterflies, I dance with them until I am my own butterfly. When I’m not getting the results I want in life, I dance through different methods until I get a desired result. I know I will always return home, so I don’t hesitate to dance with all aspects of life. The stage is my foundation, the place that showed me my purpose. There is no choice but to keep dancing. As much as I can plan for it; the future is unpredictable. What I can always be sure of is returning home. Every day I arrive back to the stage for my given purpose: to dance.