I heard my name from behind the black gauze curtain and walked out, staring down the audience, trying to persuade myself I knew what I was doing. Would I remember the next moves after the buttercup, the hip roll, and the low and slow?
I lay down on my stomach in my starting position. The music started: Led Zeppelin’s “When the Levee Breaks.” I was doing it. The buttercup with four variations. But oh no. I was doing the wide leg prance eight bars too early.
The rest of the set dissolved into an improvised nightmare. The piece was supposed to be about Hurricane Katrina and embodied the word “Disaster” scrawled around my neck.
My body flailed as if drowning in invisible water while my mind floated overhead, aware of the brilliant aerialists that had preceded our piece, of my brilliant coach, Stella Fink, of my brilliant boyfriend sitting in the audience, and only barely remembering that I still hadn’t finished that graphic memoir I’d been talking about for years.