While the Socci family is working on multiple book writing projects simultaneously, it makes sense for us to start adding updates with the main topic in our blog post headlines. For today’s update, we will be sharing information on our manuscript in progress: Conflicted with Joy.
The last few weeks have seen a substantial amount of work being done behind the scenes. As we are reaching out to people and consistently getting rejected because no one from the Joy of Motion dance community wants to talk to us, we have been fortunate enough to track somebody down who is willing to share some important thoughts. More on that later.
This week also brought along a truly heartbreaking moment for Amanda. Amanda had learned a month ago that Joy of Motion was giving up its lease at its Friendship Heights location. Well, Amanda just knew she had to visit the dance studio one last time to say goodbye to a special friend who had endeared itself upon Amanda’s life and really, throughout her whole family.
Joy of Motion wasn’t just a dance studio. There are hundreds of dance studios and they’re all pretty much the same. A dance floor is a dance floor and physical spaces can be rearranged and adjusted according to needs. Some dance studios charge an arm and a leg because they choose to go all out with fancy stuff that no one really needs or cares about. Those costs get passed down to the dancers, and ultimately, the parents, who end up sacrificing family vacations and cars to pay for these unnecessary extras.
For Amanda, Joy of Motion was more than just a set of four walls or spring floors that were good to the feet and facilitated grand jetes. It was all about the people. Amanda became friendly with many of the dance teachers, both those who actually taught her daughters as well as those whose classes she had a chance to view and enjoy while her daughters were in their classes. Amanda was developing friendships with several of the parents and many of the teachers. It was a feel-good experience from humble beginnings that began in 2016.
Not knowing exactly what to expect, Amanda set out on her last drive to visit Joy of Motion at its Friendship Heights location in Washington, D.C. She took the long way there, making sure to cross into every single landmark that was important to her daughters. The family trips to Joy of Motion were long and often stressful. The traffic, long commutes, endless snacks and messy car, not to mention the awkward getting-changed-in-the-car moments when we were running late all seemed to dissolve themselves as we settled into a comfortable routine.
Amanda arrived at Harrison Street, N.W. and parked, adding funds to her favorite parking zone for the last time. She braced herself and walked to the studio, bathed in warm sunlight that made this difficult moment more palpable. She wore her mask and her daughter’s Joy of Motion Youth Dance Ensemble t-shirt, ready for her close-up. Amanda found a stranger to take her photo. He asked, “aren’t you taking your mask off?” Amanda replied: “Absolutely not.” This was a purposeful photo that needed the mask to indicate the very strange period that made history this year.
Purposeful indeed. Amanda managed to smile with her eyes, or smize, as Tyra Banks famously described it, but even that couldn’t cloak the somber mood that filled Amanda when she opened up the door and gazed upon that familiar set of stairs, once bustling with lots of tiny little feet and harried nannies and parents rushing to get to class and leave to proceed with their day. That narrow hallway that people always complained about was the repository of so many wonderful memories Amanda will forever cherish.
What Amanda would not give to get back some of the joy and hope she felt each time she stepped into that hallway and peered into the studio to see one of her daughters working hard. How she cherished the memory from February 8 which was the last time Amanda would ever get to see her daughters perform at the Jack Guidone Theater, the first studio on the right as you go up the stairs…
If at least 1% of this description of what Amanda felt by visiting Joy of Motion dance studio for the last time tugged at your curiosity or heartstrings, you may likely enjoy reading the full version in Amanda’s upcoming book, Conflicted with Joy.