One of the nicer perks of managing house for events at the dance studio is that, when the stars align just right, I actually get to see some of the show. A lot of them are repertory shows for the various schools that teach in the area, but others are professional deals, and some are Serious Art. I don't always know what it's going to be until I turn up; the permanent staff are responsible for booking things, and all I get is the ad copy, and some sheets of paperwork when I get there.

Whilst channeling the usual amount of chaos a couple of weeks ago, I noticed that the staffer whose project it was had wandered off at some point and changed his clothes. It's not strange to have that one roaming the building. Staffers don't have to babysit their shows in person, although he usually does. It's just a little out of the ordinary for any of them to be doing the babysitting in a tuxedo.

I was just like, kessé? I know not wherefore the monkey suit, but now I have got to find out.

It turns out, he's a ballroom dance instructor. The only one I know, I think, which is a little strange considering that everyone out there seems to wear a million different hats. He was all dolled up for a cameo in the show, which I managed to catch by tiptoeing up to the balcony where the light board is.

He is absolutely beautiful in motion. Most dancers are; postmodernists aside, that is generally the point. The various styles differ on how one is supposed to present this. Ballerinas are supposed to wear a faint, ethereal smile, as if they weigh nothing and doing all of those impossible things is airy and easy. Most modern styles are either 'stage smile', to assure the audience that everyone is having fun, or some measure of acting, if the piece is narrative. Flamenco dancers are meant to be imperious. I don't get to watch the African styles much, but they all seem to be deep in concentration, following the pattern of the dance.

The ballroom dance instructor seems to just... like being pretty. It is neither simple nor easy to make oneself into a work of art; it takes a lot of time and practice, and a lot of very good performers are perfectionists who are also their own worst critics. He leaves me with the impression that he is aware of what he looks like when he succeeds, and enjoys being a collection of elegant shapes in motion. It might be an illusion that he's learned to project to spectators, but I also see him scuttling around backstage, just doing his job, and I don't think I count as an audience. I think he's just graceful, and he knows that, and it's fun.

I kind of want to ask if that's what runs through his head when he dances, and I kind of don't. If it is just stage presence, then I get to crawl off and be a disappointed space alien again. The above is pretty much what I think when the dancing is going particularly well, and just for once I'd like to not be the only one who has these thoughts. I swear there are times when I wonder if I'm the sole person alive who doesn't spend their days wandering the Earth convinced that they're secretly hideous.

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