The Secret Doctrine of Being Beautiful

Friday, April 08, 2005

The Fantasia of Colors

We were girls from 11 to 14 yrs old.. I did not remember how old I was, but I remember most my friends in this group were older than me.
In our heart knowingness, we would all be future stars. We were serious beyond our age. We wanted so much to fly and to take our audience to fly with us.. We were purely innocent, purely worldly, purely clear, purely confused ... We were pure in our sophisticated simplicity.

Lady master Tsai had been teaching us since we were little girls. Most of us started our lessons around 4 or 5 years old. She was one of the most famous dance artist in her time. I was growing up seeing famous dancers in and out of the studio that was her house, our sanctuary. Something in us knew that our destiny would be very different than the destiny of our other school mates. We have to finish our home work for the other school and come to the studio receiving our lessons to be “ Beautiful and magical.”

Lady master Tsai told us that she was going to choreograph a ballet called
-- The Fantasia of Colors, and it would be presented in this coming concert.

She said -- White, is the color of snow. It is a symbol of purity. All brides wear white.
“ -- Oh, White! That must be me. I am the purest from inside out “ Secretly, I wish that she would choose me to dance the White, but she chose Mai-Shin, - a delicate, thin dancer. Her older brother was also in our class. Both were beautiful in their own way. I did not know that Lady Tsai thought Mai-Shin was perfect for the color White. Mai-Shin had no facial expression while standing up to be “ the White.”

“ Pink is the color for romance, it is a symbol of love.” Lady Tsai announced.
“ -- Oh, pink, it must be me. I love to be pink and I have always been romantic. This is so obvious to everybody …“ My heart jumped so fast because I knew that I should be the most romantic dancer, wearing pink tutu and pink toe-shoes in this dance. Lady Tsai walked toward me, then passed by me, touched the head of Show-Mei, a really beautiful dancer with maturer development than any of us. I could never imagine that she was romantic. She did not read as much poetry as I did, and she had no interest in getting alone with anybody. Maybe she was more romantic than any of us because of her mature figure. I told myself: "Its ok, there are more beautiful colors waiting for me."

“ Yellow symbolizes the intelligence. Intelligence is a different kind of beauty that makes you beautiful even in your old age” Lady Tsai was the priestess in our eyes. Everything she said must be true because she was the one who chose which one, among us, got to be beautiful and magical.

“ -- Intelligence!!! That could be me. I like being intelligent instead of being romantic. I wondered why she did not choose me to dance the pink, because I supposed to dance this intelligent yellow.” I began to see myself wearing yellow tutu, spinning and jumping, and the audience got so inspired by watching me dance with this ultra intelligent color yellow. I became the yellow butterfly … I became the full moon …I became the new born duckling playing with a baby chick; I became the sunflower that danced with sunshine… I did not even realize that Lady Tsai had already chosen Yu-Lee to be the yellow. until "a tree" stood up on my left side. Yu-Lee had the longest legs and arms. I had always admire her long extended Arabesque, and I could see why Lady Tsai chose her to dance the yellow ... Oh, I truly wish my legs could be longer.

“ Purple, likes grapes and the vine, is the color for the sacred ceremony. Purple brings compassions to humanity … “
“ -- Yeah!!!! Purple? Of course, how can I forget my favorite color. I love color Purple more than color White, color Pink, and color Yellow. This has to be me … “ Suddenly I was inside the church, celebrating Easter … Rising above those chanting priests wearing royal purple, I was inside a purple flame, floating … Before I came out that purple flame, Lady Tsai had already put her hands on Mei-Lin’s head. Mai-Lin was always elegant and graceful. She had the ability to make every difficult movement looked simple. She was one of my best friend, and I was happy for her. If anybody was chosen to be the color Purple, it had to be her. Lady Tsai was always right.

“ Now, Blue, like sky, like ocean. Blue symbolizes Freedom …” I wondered how come Lady Tsai just knew exactly which color meant what … Anyway, freedom should be danced by a free spirit , like me.

“ -- Freedom!!! I can see myself wearing blue tutu, with blue toe-shoes, dancing like a blue bird gliding through the shimmering air… Blue is not my favorite color, but if she let me dance Freedom in blue, I shall love color Blue for the rest of my life. “ What kind of blue would I have as my tutu? Sky blue? Or ocean mist? Pale blue? Or intense royal blue? I could not decide which blue I would love more, meanwhile Lady Tsai chose someone else whose name I could not remember … this only meant that I had never thought she was an excellent dancer. Maybe I just need to open my sight to see what I could not see. Too many surprises and disappointments had already made me a little dizzy …

“ Green is the color of Mother Earth, without green, this world would be very different. “ Lady Tsai seemed to know everything that was important to make this world different.
“ -- I never know green is that important, it is not my color, but I surely like to be important. “ Again, I was contemplating the possibility to dance like Mother Earth while Li-Hey had already stood up to be the green ...
Now there were only three colors left, Orange, Red, and Black. None of them were my favorite colors, Dancing Orange might be ok for me, after all orange could be the color of the Sun. Red? Nay -- Those adults often looked coo-coo when they wore red trying to find a date. I had no desire to be the red, nor black. None of us would want to dance black, that was a color widows wore all the time.

“ Orange is the color of the sun. It is a symbol for the sacred flame that lives in our heart! “ Lady Tsai said plainly. I saw flames in her eyes.
" -- Sacred Flame in people's heart? Wow!!! I like to be that flame in everybody’s heart. I love people. When I was a very little girl, I wanted to marry everybody, now I am old enough to know it is impossible ... Still, I could dance for everybody.Yes, I could hear the music of this dancing flame. Without this flame in our hearts, life would be very cold. Oh, thank you, Lady Tsai, for not choosing me to dance the other colors. I should be this dancing flame that ignite the flames in all hearts … "
Lady Tsai walked toward me, putting her hands on Yu-Lin, the youngest among us all, who sat next to me on my right side … I did my best to be calm and not to allow tears burst out.

“ Red is the color of blood, it symbolize passion and vital force. People often give red rose to their lovers … “
I wanted to be Purple, white, or pink, yellow … maybe green, but not red. I had no feelings about red. So when Lady Tsai chose Gin-Whai to dance the red, I had no emotion at all. I thought that I would just not be in this ballet, which was ok. Please just don’t make me dance that ugly black.

“ Black is the color of the night. It is mysterious and some people associate it with evil. I would like to dance the Black myself if I am young like you. It is very challenging to dance the black …” Lady Tsai talked on the on. She loved color Black because she was an old lady. I felt sleepy.

It was the most uncomfortable moment when Lady Tsai put her hands on my head, while every other girls were giggling. I just could not believe that I should wear a black tutu, in black toe-shoes, dancing this unlucky black ...Plus, I was never e-v-i-l ... How come Lady Tsai could not see my purity? My romantic nautre? My intelligence? My free spirit? My heart? How come she thought I was perfect for this ugly color Black? I could not hold my tears any more. Feeling humiliated and confused, I bursted out in front of everybody.
Lady Tsai was smiling …

Échappé --- Échappé --Chassé--Chassé …..Changement ----Jeté
Lady Tasi spoke those French ballet terms in heavy Japanese accent because she was trained in Japan. I had never asked other girls if they understood the meaning of these French terms.
We just moved with the sounds that came out of her mouth as a coded program. This is not unlike what you see in a cartoon, when a witch chanted an invocation, the spirits began to dance ...
Even to this day, I often ask myself how did that happen when we were little Chinese girls who just understood French?
How did she made us dancing to those Japanese - French ballet terms without missing a count?

Actually, it was not that bad when I begin to learn
The Fantasia of Color Black.
I might not like those black toe-shoes and that black tutu, but the music was really dramatic and enchanting.
First, I felt that I became Lady Tsai, dancing with a long black robe instead of a tutu, weeping a thousand tears in a mysterious, thundering night … These thousands tears bursted into millions and billions and trillions stars, shimmering against the night sky of the forever elusive, and the forever vast ...
Believe this or not, all colors coming out from the stars were her tears… they were infinite colors dancing and breathing like music, and many worlds were born …
Then, I became a black swan glided through the dark clouds, dove into a lake that was bottomless ... I was the Queen of the Silent Night and I was that mysterious abyss … something other than me had taken over. I was no more that shy girl who just wanted to be pure and lovely, I became a presence that was much older than anything I could ever imagine.
Every fiber of my being was spinning into a place that made everything around me simply vanished …
Then, I was in a forest, and soon I became the forest that had no end ... I was the night sky … and I was the ruthless Death ...
I was everyone’s fantasy and fear.
It was a different kind of romance.
I was cold and wild at the same time….
It felt wonderful. I did not know how marvelous it was to be the
color Black ...
Nothing else exist, except me and this color Black,
and then,
I was not me anymore,
but this Black …
I could feel the audience were holding their breath. It was not me dancing, it was that mysterious presence dancing through me.
Then the music stopped, all was silent, nobody made a slightest sound, I could not move but stood still ... like those elusive stars,
forever still.
Slowly, some people began to clap, then the whole house were applauding.
I bowed like a queen without a slightest hint of girlish smile.
The world was under my feet …
I was not that shy girl anymore.
I was something else that never had a name.

Lady Tsai held my hand proudly while receiving those rush in audience at the backstage.
My parents were so shocked that made them kept on asking me --
"How do you feel now? "
They were proud and puzzled at the same moment, just like everything else in this bewildering, timeless time.
That was the moment ...
Neither was I the sweet daughter they had ever known.
Nor did I know who was who any more.
My feet were on fire in those black toe-shoes,
and finally,
I fell in love with my black tutu …

Smiling, nodding at waves of audience like a goddess statue,
Lady Tsai murmured many times in a ultra low tone--
” Only if I can dance again like I used to ... “
Perhaps, I was the only one who could hear her …
Perhaps, I was the only one who had danced her tears …
Perhaps, I was the only one who had witnessed how she gave birth to the stars and colors ...
from those mysterious tears hidden beneath her
goddess like,
triumphant smiles…

Star Light


  • I cannot give words the same meaning that you do, even though I have spoken English all my life, but I have to say that your writing of "The fantasia of Colors" was wonderful to read! It put me there in that moment, watching & seeing. More than just about color! I loved it! Thank you!

    By Blogger Becky, at 6:26 PM  

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