The day started out pretty good with the usual up and downs when planning a graduation. What unfolded later was one of the priceless things that I will have the pleasure of never forgetting. As you know I teach dance and have always felt that this type of expression is so important. As I sat and talked to the girls they waited for the night to begin, I reflected back on when they all began the class. This class had so many pitfalls and lots of ups and downs. I started out this time around with 32 students and ended up with 6 graduating. These six should be very proud of themselves. They stuck it out through many moves of the class, watching a fellow student go through a nightmare that any dancer would never want to go through. They all placed their faith in me that all would be ok. You see they are important to me and I do see them more than just avatars. I have gotten to know them. Each so unique each so different.

The growing pains they have gone through and all in the name of dance. One of the things they don’t see that I do is that through this process they have grown and bonded with others in SL. They have made friendships that will last a very long time. They care about each other and what happens.If one is hurting they all run to see what they can do to help. A lot of you will laugh cause you see it as “just online” sadly for some of you, you will never take that first step to meet the ones you know in SL. I can stand on this soapbox because I have met and continue to try and meet as many of them as I can, because they are real. Doesn’t take tons of money just the desire to meet in the middle.

The girls and I use “girls” should use women because that is what each and everyone of them are. The lives these women have and the strength that they have. I have watched some of the many things that hurt them, make them laugh, make them mad. Guess what folks they are human and so very real.

My list of students is very long and to see some of my first students come to the graduation brought tears to my eyes. To think that they are for the most part still dancing,still expressing themselves. That my friends is priceless. But I tend to get off topic so onto that night.

The advanced class worked so hard on a dance for the beginners and it was started off with a mess of the music. Laughing here now that is SL for you. Finally it came together and the women of the advanced class danced to their fellow classmates that were just graduating. Each had a message for them and when done I was pleased to see and hear “omg, wow” from the graduates. My hat is off to Flame, Foxie, Gracie, and Sarah what gems these woman are. Countless nights of laughs, tears, anger we have seen and been through it all. They came together as a team as a group of dancers loving to dance for others. Snickering as I got words of “omg will we ever be able to do that?”

Let me start by saying alittle about each that graduated. First up was Devine these are the words I used for her:

Our First graduate is Devine, smiling as I say her name. This one came to the classes I think at first to see what all the fuss was about, she once told me “she just followed the green dots.” Laughing at the thought. She has grown and really surprised me many times. Extending a hand to you and smiling softly “Devine the sands are yours”.

She did have me worried as her song she had was one of the longest for a first time dancer. I didn’t want her to fail nor back out. She had issues with her hud and as her teacher I had to remain calm but I know it ticked her off to no end. When she danced for the first time in front of a large crowd (did I mention 62+ avatars all there to see the girls) it was like she had been doing for years. Her dance had so improved over the period of time. Animations great the choice of music and words spot on. I sat and watched and cried because I felt her pain I felt the courage she had and knew this came from a place in her heart that she needed everyone to see. I don’t know if she will continue in dance but I do know she gave it her all in my classes and I wanted her to know that I was so proud of her that she did it!.

Second was Azuri here is what I said about her:

Next to enter the sands is Azuri. This graduate told me that “she felt dance was for ninny’s” Not until she decided to come to the dance classes did we begin to change her mind. Azuri I am glad that you were open-minded enough to see this through. Motioning to her enter the sands and pull everyone here into your world.

This one as I sit here snickering wow. She was so worried about everything that could happen and none of us could answer all the questions of “what if”. She got upset many times but not until she danced did she understand what I and her fellow classmates were trying to tell her. What helped Azuri calm down and see that this was something she wanted to do no matter what, was the night before she saw an advanced student Flame go through a total nightmare when dancing. She told me that she saw that no matter what if this is what is in your heart you will dust yourself off and continue. I am glad (not for Flame but for Azuri) that she got to see the desire of a dancer no matter what happens “I have to dance this” She was in ims with me as she danced telling me what was happening and what was going wrong. My words to her were stop and focus continue. She did and no one noticed. As she sat down she was right where I wanted her to be excited crying shaking and wanting to do again.

Third was Hlinn and the following is what I said about her:

Next up our third graduate Hlinn. She came into SL and seems right to my classes, not only did she want to learn to dance but she spent countless hours catching up with the rest of the class. She cried and ranted when things wouldn’t go in place and now today you would never know it. Moving back to my pillow and looking over to you. Hlinn command the sands!

This lady worked so hard to catch up and she was only behind 3 classes. Hlinn is a dancer in RL and so many of the small lessons I teach she already understood. She worked so hard on her dance. I wanted her to feel the same way she does in RL after she dances. She said close and for that I am thankful. She danced from the heart and with her permission I am posting her dance:

Hlinn: Little Lost Girl:

I stand still as desire wells up from deep within me,, my heart beats faster, as hope wells up that I might unlock what lies deep inside… To take hold of the child within and let her free, to see the world with broad strokes, not the narrow vision I have now. I I want with all of my being to paint the world and make new visions manifest as I imagine them into being.

I want to run, to skip, to turn in circles and let my laughter resonate to the rafters, to see the sun shine on the water and make rainbows scintillate over the horizon. I want my hair to flow out from my body in that way that only little girl hair does…Bounce about and bring my joy into being. I want to laugh and laugh and laugh some more.

I want to cry… I want to be able to cry when I am hurt, not keep it locked up inside’ til I am alone or it is dark and it is safe for the tears to flow. I want to be held , to be told “It is all better now and you are my little girl and I love you.”

Filled with wanting to be free in my heart, for all these things to come into being. I want what I never had, what can never be, a happy childhood. But you can’t make the past over, and what is, simply is.

Wishes rise from deep within, to have a do over….. I want candy every day and I want to live in a world of fresh air and rainbows..

Now very well said. I am very proud of your growth. You now see what I have said years before. All of me the good and bad. Well said and again very proud of you. You blew your teacher away last night. Yes I will not let you go backwards.

Next was Sipa and what follows are my words for her:

As I stand here looking at all the students, the next graduate makes me smile just by saying her name. Sipa began the classes sitting in the background, not saying a word unless you asked her a question. She was a wall flower and one that I felt would give up. Until one night she asked after class if I had some time. She had a desire and because she couldn’t express it she decided to dance about chocolate, I asked “is that really what you want to dance about?” she stated “no” the reply was simple “then don’t.” I am so glad you continued in the classes and finally listened to your heart. Sipa you surprise me each and every time we speak, please enter the sands and dance for all to see.

She danced wonderfully and this one I am going to push as she comes into the advanced classes. I love her dance as it makes me feel what it means to be a submissive every time.

Our fourth grad was unable to get online and we all had our fingers crossed that she would make it I didn’t take her off the list until 10 minutes into the graduation. The words I had for her were as follows:

Following in her fellow graduate’s footsteps, this next graduate came to the classes “hidden” She came covered in tats and even her face was blocked by hair most of the time. As the weeks went by, slowly I began to see a change, less tats and even hairstyles that revealed a beautiful face. In fact the choices in her color of clothing began to brighten. I am please to see all the changes in you Corri and to hear the excitement in your voice when you IM me saying “Rya I got a dance!” Please enter the sands and show me YOU!

She is back and will get the change to show all her dance.

Now to our last graduate. Shaking my head now here is what I had to say about her:

Finally our last graduate, What to say about this one. Tivi has been through dancing ups and downs for a very long time. She has begun to reinvent herself and yes I have pushed harder than she would like at times. The bar I have raised for you and tonight you hold your head high and dance with all the passion that is inside you. Tivi to the sands!!!!!

Oh my what a night for this one. Lets just start by saying this one I have know for years. Many of you don’t like how out spoken she is or how she may do things. One thing she does need to know is this night her fellow classmates were worried when she poofed and didn’t return and then the teacher left to get her. This one although she is a vet in dancing had a meltdown. Hard to believe right? but she did. The one thing I have always wanted for Tivi is to be herself be it so completely that even if others see cracks so what they are part of what make you YOU. I have pushed Tivi in the beginner’s hard why you may ask? She is a vet in dance and is even in the advanced classes. Tivi and I go way back and when she asked to come attend the beginner’s classes yet (she had been in each of them all along the way) again because of a block she was having. I made a promise to myself when I said sure. I wasn’t going to allow her to hide ever again. Dance is a way for Tivi to speak to you and this I knew. I push and push each emote, each dance step, each choice of music. What most of you don’t know Tivi wasn’t allowed to use anything in her vast library of music. As the weeks went by I say her changing and I would listen as she talked about her modeling and slowly in classes it was talked about more than her dancing. Here is what you my Tivi didn’t know your teacher saw through you. I knew you would do a dance I knew you would cross all the T’s and dot all the I’s. I knew the emotes would be perfect, even the music. What I also knew was you were once again building a wall. One I made a promise to myself you were not going to be allowed to do. Why cause I am the teacher! then came the night I gave you a teachers choice. A hard one cause one you didn’t have a clue of how to do. I also knew if my words in class wouldn’t break down that wall this choice would. Am I wrong I stand here today and say no. Because of that choice it broke that wall to pieces and there is no way you can build it back up because it is not in pieces but it turned to dust. What you all don’t see is her tears I do. I hear them I see the slave she is I do see what she so needs each and everyone of you to see. So once I went into “mom mode” on her ass and she told me “fuck you Rya and the horse you rode in on” I made it clear she was going to dance and she was going to dance for her teacher and herself. What I got was something that I will never ever forget and for that she has soared in my book. My words of introducing her were meek as what she did blew me away. I let her take the sands and from there I sat and cried and cried smiling through the tears. Wasn’t until she started dancing that I was to find out she rewrote the entire dance as she sat on that pillow. She worte from her heart for the very first time all of it. Shaking as I watched my student be raw for the very first time in all the years I have known her. So with her permission I post her dance:

“You know, Rya’s probably going to kill me for this… but I think there’s something bigger that needs to be danced about today than what my original dance said. Maybe someday that dance will be danced, but that day is not today.” The battered slave takes a deep breath and lets out a shaking sigh. “You see, a lot of you know… I’m not exactly new to the art of dance… Gorean or otherwise. And so why, exactly, am I here? It’s a bit of a story…”

Spinning around the sands, carefully, steps rhythmic and precisely timed… almost too precisely. That was always the problem. The more she’d danced, the more of a perfectionist she became. The steps had to be right, the music had to be right, the words had to be just so… just so right. “It wasn’t even about the love of dance anymore… it was about the satisfaction of doing it well… which is all well and good, but it is far from the reason I began dancing.”

“And about the time that it became about perfection, constructing a dance became way too difficult to even think about doing, let alone attempt.” A small stumble in the sands, a lurch forward, only to be followed by the spinning of a helpless little girl, unsure of which way to go anymore. “Though I do admit, it was still an enjoyable feeling. I never had to show myself to anyone… I could just hide behind the perfect motions, and the perfect words, and the perfect music. I never had to be Tivi.”

The expression on the girls’ face would fall, as the satisfaction of hiding could only prove to keep her happy for so long. It, along with everything else, is fleeting. “But I was determined… to get back to the heart that started it all… to get back to who I used to be and grown in the love and passion of dance. And so… I sought out Rya…” Whipping around to catch the eyes of her teacher, she grins with a bit of a sadistic streak of her own. “You DID say that, if nothing else, I would dance tonight for YOU…”

“My desire was simple… I wanted my words to mean something… because I possessed this deep-rooted fear that in my striving to be perfect, I had lost the meaning behind my words and everyone had stopped listening.” A hardened glare at her teacher, those nights she wanted to just quit and give up. But much like that time, the slave would continue to dance, bruised, beaten, scarred as she might be… she would continue to dance.

Seemingly out of nowhere, a laugh would spring forth from slightly parted lips. “It wasn’t an easy process to be under Rya’s thumb… let me tell you.” Fingertips hover over her skin, each motion almost like pulling something away. “Rya would not allow me to hide behind the music I knew and loved… she would not allow me to hide behind the perfect, precisely timed sequences… or the words that I took my solace in. She forced me away from all of that…”

allows her eyes to fall to her own form… each scar meaning something… each bruise a symbol… each scratch a dig from another. Her teacher had ripped her out from behind her wall to expose the deepest parts of herself… the parts that she dare not let anyone else see… because those parts are not beautiful. These parts, these bruises, scars, marks, scratches… these are blemishes in a world that demands flawless perfection. It is easier to hide the things that make her human than it is to admit her afflictions and embrace them. But Rya forced her.

blinks away tears, gaze still locked on her teacher as shaking limbs continue… this dance composed of all her heartache and pain, all she’d been through and yet to go through. “And you know, it wasn’t until she forced me to get past those things I hide behind that I truly became a dancer. That I truly learned how to express myself… that I truly became Tivi. It wasn’t until then that Rya could finally look at me and say, ‘I finally saw Tivi!'”

chuckles again and finally tears her eye from her teacher to look out into the crowd: some faces she knew… some she surely did not. “And you know, I fought her all the way. Even tonight… I told her I would not dance. That I no longer believed the words I wrote. And to be fair, I still don’t. That dance was a failed attempt at relaying a story that was not my own… another attempt at hiding… even from my own teacher. And in my last moment of defiance, I refused to dance and told Rya just where she could go… and the horse she rode in on.”

smiles softly to her teacher once more, raising an arm to the skies, seeming to reach for something just above her… something that laid just beyond the grasp of her fingertips… something… more. “Somewhere in my time in this class, my desire changed. I was no longer concerned with whether my words meant anything… and in fact, I even came to terms with the fact that I may very well fail in my attempts to show MYSELF to those I dance for… but my new desire would be my driving force: I want to try.”

finally manages to finish out her dance, collapsing in exhaustion in the sands, forehead pressed deeply into the granules, allowing them to intermingle with raven black locks of hair. Try is what she had done… some would see her for what she is… human being first, slave second… stripped of all that once had hidden her from the people she cared about the most. Some would see, some would not. But all that matters, is that she tried.

A gift that not many will have the honor of seeing. As I sit here and yes I know this blog is long. I want each of them to know they have given me all I asked for and more. They have given me joy. They are so dear to me. They are humans and with so much heart. I am honored that each considers my teachings of value to them. I have done nothing but be a old lady with a heavy foot to knock down walls that they wanted knocked down but didn’t have the strength to do or were to afraid to do. They are all winners they are all UNIQUE. I am blessed to know each and everyone of you. This is your teacher saying I thank you for sharing your worlds with me I am honored you allowed this. I am honored to call you all fellow dancers. I do care what roads you all will travel down and I hope we remain in contact for the rest of my days. Never look back always move forward hold those heads high as you command not only the sands but every thing you do. Thank you my beloved students.