Date a girl devoted to doing the unnatural every day, who stands on her toes and speaks without words. Date a girl whose eyes get glassy when assaulted by new music because she can’t help choreographing, casting, living and dying in her mind.
Find a girl who dances. You’ll know that she does because she will seem to move endlessly. She will sway to the sounds of the city, fidget every few minutes, crack her knuckles and her neck, roll each wrist and cross the other leg just so she feels even. She will forget herself and where she is, the length of her skirt and the strangeness of what she’s about to do when something falls from her lovely, articulate hands to the floor. She will not bend at the knees because she does not have to, folding instead at the waist to execute the kill. That’s the dancer. When she straightens, she will laugh at herself, and her collarbone will beg you waltz with her.
She’s the girl with vast and unvocalized dreams strewn across the heavens and a bloodline dating back to French royalty, but whose natural inclination is to collapse to the earth, flop to the floor. There’s more room to stretch there, you see. Sit with her. She might giggle, ramble on a bit about nervous energy. Such proximity to a pedestrian has reawakened an awareness of her abnormality; she had nearly forgotten, again, that not everyone needs a tutu to feel alive. She will try very hard to stay very still so as not to give herself away. Don’t mention it. Ask her what she thinks about when she dances.
Let her move.
Tell her what you really think of the Nutcracker. See if she cries when she doesn’t make the cut, and learn to anticipate what she needs before and after that audition. Remember what needs massaging, and when. Understand that it is a rare treat indeed for her to really be at rest, to have a day off from running to and from rehearsals, and to take a break from being beautiful. Relish in whatever she decides to do that day, whether it be sleeping in or saving the world, marathoning a show she always misses or mulling over the feasibility of moving to Mars. Wonder aloud which she was truly born to perform: The white swan, or the black swan. Listen to her reasons why. Indulge her identity, which dances, too. She creates and discovers herself, decides and destroys herself, rehearsing both what she is and what she wants to be. She will perform herself passionately and full-out, shifting entirely with the slightest costume change. Try to keep up. She may speak oddly, percussively, orchestrally, a tango of tangled words. Assume she means to. Her intensity stems from a trained commitment. Technically, she was never trained to talk. She was trained to listen. Let her speak when she finds her voice. Do not ask her to make sense.
It’s easy to date a girl who dances. Give her ibuprofen in bulk for her birthday, sweatshirts and leg warmers for Christmas, cut-off tees and new soft shoes for anniversaries. Give her the gift of touch, the closeness in your eyelashes on her face and the silent applause in an embrace. Give her Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, Yann Tiersen, original scores to your kisses. Make her feel the way she feels backstage, in the wings. Let her know that you, too, have noticed all the different configurations your bodies make to lock into one another. Understand that she’s not asking you to be a dancer when she asks you to dance.
Look at her. Stare.
Because she’s unreal. The human equivalent of a black cat, with that same mesmerizing and vaguely alarming quality in the way she slinks toward you. You’re crossing paths with the supernatural, love. You’ve every right to be suspicious. She is at once a string of omens, not just misfortune to many but good luck to plenty. She is bizarre, comfortable, and just maybe the next step in evolution. You may not know what to do with her, even years after the fact. All you know for certain is that her purring is the midsummer night, her happiness, hypnotic. Sharing her company suggests that you are either mental, or extraordinarily lucky.
Because when a dancer falls in love with you, she falls in love with the music you make. She will fall into step with you when you walk together because she knows what corps means, what a greater and grander cause costs. She will assume your motions and mannerisms are as deliberate and meaningful as her own. She will soundlessly observe and absorb you, assigning sensational motivation to your every stir. Your imperfections are artistic, and rewarded. She will recognize you by your cantor, your carriage, and most of all your asymmetry. She fancies the idea of completing each other because your smile pulls to the right, and her smile pulls to the left. It’s all in her head, of course, but what does it matter. She always did like dramatic lighting. She values your very presence in a way you’ve never known. Your cadence compels her. Your pas de deux delights her because it cannot be replicated. She will respect your insanity. It moves her.
Date a girl who dances because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who adores everything you do, every little thing about you. It won’t just be your face or your words or what you two have in common, and it certainly won’t be because you’re convenient. This is a woman who rehearses for weeks on end for maybe one minute onstage — do you think she does anything because it is easy? You want a girl who bites off more than she can chew because she is the most flexible, most sensitive, most ambitious, most big-hearted of the bunch. She will hold ridiculous ideals and outrageous expectations, and she is hardest on herself. She finds solace in rehearsal, because scratching the sublime is only a matter of time. You deserve a girl who knows that a good show requires thick skin and endless practice, a girl who isn’t daunted by any of it. You want a girl who stretches. That is the girl who is unafraid of instability, who understands it and commands it everyday. She’s the one who drills straight through valleys and mountains, persevering through highs and lows because she knows the deeper the plié, the higher the leap. You deserve a girl who doesn’t break easy, a girl who’s prepared for a bit of pain for the sake of of beauty.
She’ll be abysmal with budgeting, you ought to know, but she’ll be pretty resourceful when it comes to diplomacy and improvisation. And she’ll be terrible at scheduling and double-booking because the stage skews her sense of time. She’ll embody the ebb and flow of that tide between well-established vanity and soul-crushing insecurity, of course, but she’ll look glamorous and shy and tough and femme between layered sweats and stage make-up. And yes, darling, she’ll want everything — but she wants you.
You deserve a girl who gives you goosebumps when she says goodnight, who finds the minute and mundane phenomenal, who reveres balance as the desirable eye of a storm. If you can only give her half of your heart, you’re better off alone. If you want to race through a world more stunning than you’ve ever dared to see it, date a girl who dances.