“NO! NO! NO! I said, Front Step, Front Step, Back Step, POINT! If you’re not going to listen, I’m not going to help you become magnificent!”
His face is right up against mine and a mixture of spittle and sweat ricochets off my forehead as he speaks. His hot breath is a mix of sour milk and passion.
He is Gary Busey and he is my dance instructor.
I work through the moves again, this time properly. But Gary Busey isn’t satisfied. Gary Busey is never satisfied.
“I want to know why you’re wasting my time! No! I want to know why you’re wasting YOUR time! You want to be a dancer — then DANCE.”
I am exhausted; we have been working since 4 am and it is well past 2 in the afternoon with no break. And there’s a full day ahead of us. But Gary Busey is right. This was MY choice. I came to HIM to LEARN.
Still, all these weeks in his stuffy windowless basement. All this time away from home, away from my family, with no one knowing where I am. It is taking its toll.
Gary Busey seems to sense my weary resignation and changes tactics. Gary Busey always knows when someone’s close to the breaking point. “Listen, we’re here for the same thing,” he says softly, touching my cheek. The rest of his sentence comes out in a whisper: “…to make you the best dancer you can be. To make you… magnificent.”
That gives me the strength to finish what I’ve set out to do. Sure, I never thought answering a dance lesson ad would lead to my imprisonment in this horrible place. I never expected to drop 30 pounds from nonstop dancing with minimal nourishment. But then again, I never expected to be learning from Gary Busey. My mentor. My friend.
A sharp crack and my jaw is broken. I almost stumble, but I know that would mean more punishment. I can’t let my mind wander. I can’t screw this up. Gary Busey, I will be your dancer. I will be magnificent.
FRONT STEP, FRONT STEP, BACK STEP, POINT. FRONT STEP, FRONT STEP, BACK STEP, POINT.