The shadow of Rudolf Nureyev (Part 6)


After a trip to the village to purchase a Bluetooth speaker, Andrew Lamb set out to discover just what kind of music would stimulate his shadow deeply enough to reveal its true nature.

It was a sunny day, so he opened all the blinds to let the light cast high contrast shadows across the beige apartment walls. He started with the kind of pop rock he was familiar with from his time in sports bars: Foo Fighters, Queen, Green Day, and so forth. It was loud and had a clear rhythm but didn’t inspire him to do much more than flail his arms, jump up and down, and shake his head around. Looking out the corner of his eye, he noted that, if anything, the shadow seemed even less enthusiastic than he was—otherwise, the performance was an exact mirror of his own.

He danced to several genres, including prog rock, punk and reggae without noticing anything out of the ordinary, until he reached afrobeat, at which point the shadow started to add in extra moves on the offbeat and shake its ass a little. Andrew Lamb began to anticipate the extra moves and throw them in at the same time as the shadow. After a while the shadow upped the ante, adding in more new moves and repeating them until Andrew Lamb got the hang of them. After an hour of this it was not clear to either party who was leading or who was following: both were improvising new moves and adding the other’s to their repertoire.

Halfway through ‘Teacher Don’t Teach Me Nonsense’ by Fela Kuti, the shadow stopped dead in its tracks and pointed at Andrew Lamb’s iPad, it then did a pirouette and a curtsy and then appeared to turn its back and tap its feet impatiently. Andrew Lamb got the message immediately, he had been feeling the same urge… to dance ballet!

The first song he found was Tchaikovsky’s ‘Entr’acte, No. 18’, so he put it on. At this point the shadow completely forgot its role as understudy to the human it had been attached to for decades and became the Prince in the ballet ‘Sleeping Beauty’. After performing the solo for this particular song, the shadow bowed, then with a flourish, extended its hand in a welcoming gesture, beckoning Andrew Lamb to follow. Thus began his ballet training.



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