The Everlasting Dream: A Memoir

As she reflects on her past years as a ballerina, Senior Matte Bulman gazes towards the future and wrestles with the fact that she may be facing her final show.

By: Matte Bulman 

Since I was three years old I have been a ballerina. Every year I plaster my hair with hairspray to make it feel like concrete, making sure no stray hair escapes from its imprisonment called the bun. I struggle and squirm into my tights and costume, then apply an obnoxious amount of makeup confirming that I indeed look like a completely different person. Then my class and I make our way to the stage and give it our all, proving our hard work and dedication all year was worth it for this one dance. 

After this year there will be no more practices, no more dress rehearsals, no more “hell week” (excuse my language, but this is what we call the week before the recital when we practice twice as much), and no more show-time jitters. I won’t know what to do with myself once dance is over–I will have so much free time that I may go insane. I have been dancing for 82% of my life, and after the final bow and the curtain drops, all of that will just be gone.  

No matter how much your mom tells you how amazing you are there are millions of other mothers saying those exact things to their children.

“The dream” is to go off and become a professional dancer, to spend the rest of our life on stage, and dancing our hearts out. The reality is that is a very difficult thing to do. Not only do you have to compete against the girls and boys from your dance studio, but also from the other studios in our town, and then the rest of the state, and the rest of the country, and even the world. No matter how much your mom tells you how amazing you are, there are millions of other mothers saying those exact things to their children.

There can only be so many dancers in professional shows, and it’s not just based on your talent. The expression, “It’s show business” is a true statement. If you have connections you are better off, and let’s be real, coming from South Dakota doesn’t really give me that extra edge that, say, coming from Los Angeles would give me.  

No matter how much “the dream” goes through my head, I am going to have to make my peace with this show being my last. I am going to give it my all and I will feel the sadness that it will be coming to an end, but dance taught me a lot more than a couple of moves that I can show off to people. It also showed me how to manage time and how to communicate with others. I have built friendships that I will never lose and I am forever grateful for my teachers and classmates because we all grew up together, and I will forever love and miss them. The last dance will be bitter sweet and show my true colors;  it is going to be the final icing on the cake, the testimony for the last 15 years of my life. And they were worth it.

Thank you, Dance, for all the great memories and life lessons; I owe most of my life to you and I wouldn’t be the person I am today without you.