Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Women You Should Know - Lula Washington by Myshell Tabu

Women You Should Know:
by Myshell Tabu

Tendu | "To Stretch"

Her dance was denied.

Past age of consent
when her muse 
introduced feet to marley
but dreaded direction
from Bruin bosses
told her 22 was too old
to start dancing.

Pisces persistence found flaws
in common sense
so she dreamed against the wind
baby girl on one hip,
husband holding steady,
battered down 
academia's ivory towers of rejection
took first steps into legend.

Nobody could deny
work ethic and talent,
like left foot and right,
moving in syncopation with vision.
She saw Cher back stage,
leapt for "Love and Happiness,"
hoofed it for Hollywood
until her dreams were big enough
to stretch $25 into a theatre,
developing diminutive dancers
to follow her vision, too.

"I do dance, not drugs,"
motto chanted through
cramped rooms near Adams and Redondo.
Since then, 
forty five thousand pairs of feet
danced to her diverse design,
populating companies and programs
all over the world
with traces of her genius.

She got down like that,
spotlighting seeds of special
in nappy haired possibilities.
Took me from taking her class
to teaching my own
before I could drive,
sending me to inspire my own
crop of futures.

Former Soviet republics
passed beneath her callused soles,
she knows Chinese provinces
by their family names
now lauded as celebrated alumna
by university that once closed its doors.

Lula don't give up,
epitome of struggle and sincerity
installing the same
in children and dreamers

one step at a time

Myshell Tabu is a Los Angeles based actress, freelance graphic designer, and home educator to two awesome daughters. She studied film at Chapman University, and holds a degree in Africana Studies with a minor in Theatre Performance from California State University, Dominguez Hills.

Zesty has been running the Women You Should Know series every March since 2012 - to look at previous posts, use the blog archive on the right of this page.

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