Let me say this upfront. I was expelled from Ballet school. At the tender age of six. Even then, being silent on a stage was an utter anathema. I mean, really!
I loved to dance. But I was always more of a stomp and wheel kinda girl than a waft and bend one. When we danced freestyle, on Fridays, the other little girls would always be butterflies or bunny rabbits. And there I’d be; a heffalump. Or a dragon. Or a vicious old dinosaur.
So, when the severe, grey haired dance teacher told my mother sternly that I might be better suited pursuing another activity, I knew it was the end of my ballerina aspirations. Thank god.
But I’ve never lost my love for ballet. When my grandfather was alive, he’d take me to every performance. He was on the board. He’d introduce me to Phyllis Spira and David Poole and Veronica Paeper during the intervals. Take me out with the dancers after the show. I’d watch these sinuous, muscled, lithe men and women smoke and drink and laugh with their post-show glow and energy. And I loved them.
I thought of all of this as I sat in the dark theatre last night, watching the corps float across the stage. Watching Giselle lose her mind over a broken love. Watching her ghost dance for her lover. With tears in my eyes. White, willowy body curved and bowed with a fluid and agile grace. Knowing the hidden pain of being en Pointe. Knowing the sacrifice of this particular form of dance.
And when the music lifts and I succumb, suspend all disbelief, there is still a small girl-like part of me yearning to be the one dusting chalk on my dance shoes, waiting in the wings for my turn to whirl and fly across the spotlight.