When I was a young girl I was cast as an angel in the Ruth Page production of The Nutcracker in Chicago. It was a small part, and after I danced I had to sit on stage–on a hard wooden stool–all the way through the second act. There was only one thing I looked forward to during these perfomances…seeing Rebecca Wright dance the Sugar Plum.
Ms. Wright was the picture of femininity as she floated across the stage. She made me hold my breath when she danced, and she could turn faster than anyone I had ever seen. I still remember the beads of sweat flying off of her as she spun madly around the stage–the lights catching each drop and lighting it up for those of us who were close enough to see…
The amazing part was…offstage she was just as charming. She spoke in a soft whisper of a voice, and she always said hello to those of us who were…well…nobody. Some of the dancers would retreat to their dressing rooms and pass you by in the hall without so much as a nod. But not her. Ms. Wright was the kind of dancer that inspires little girls to want to be a ballerina. At the time I wanted nothing more than to be her.
When I heard of her death many years later, it struck me more than I expected. Somehow in my mind she had remained all those years a sort of magical creature. The impression that I had of her stood still in my memory and was unchanged, even after all that time.
I can still close my eyes and see her spinning.
Thank you Ms. Wright. Wherever you are.
I hope that you are still dancing…