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.


8 thoughts on “Ballet

  1. flutter says:

    I am sure you were very cute in your little tutu!

    Use to watch Tracy Li and Daniel Rajna practice before Jazz Art class eons ago… quite breathtaking. There is something magical about seeing it live.

    Have always been told, I have the grace of a baby elephant. Know how you feel. Sigh!

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  2. dex says:

    Both the girls in my life are dancers. Seeing either of them captivate an audience with that grace and beauty only real dancers possess – it gets me teary-eyed every single time. Nice blog girly.

  3. dolce says:

    Ja, didn’t your better half start her own studio….how’s that going?

    Now, you’re going all soft on us again. You ok, there?

  4. dolce says:

    I lurve the Poo heffalump story. Nice one Fluts…it’s surprising how many people don’t know what a heffalump is! Sacrilage!

  5. lazydaysooz says:

    What a great experience to have behind you. I know ballet offers young people great strength and flexibility but what a bunch of weirdos. Seriously. We have a local ballet school that is totally serious (color coded rankings, old world hierarchy and caste system based on body type, etc.). Before I knew the inherent weirdness of it all I signed my kids up. I wanted my daughters to have that conditioning and muscle strength but the whole scene there was way wacky. I’m talking about anorexic 9 year old boys and girls who strive to have the hollowed out cheeks and rib cages showing. They stand around in front of the mirror for hours a day (these kids home school so they can dance all the time) looking at their bodies, obsessing about their physiques and eating power bars. And then you talk to the mothers, who on the face look reasonable and normal, then you leave shaking your head that they are part of the problem of perpetuating the sickness and weirdness. I was so happy that my girls said “toilet this” at the ages of 9 & 7. They’re both slight of build but love basketball, soccer and tennis. Much healthier pursuits, I think.

  6. sundayschild says:

    I didn’t get expelled, but i knew it was time to leave when during the end of year performance of ‘Peter Rabbit’ everybody else got to be bunnies, and i was a lettuce (the lumpiest looking one as far back on stage as it’s possible to be put).

  7. dolce says:

    a lettuce!? You must have looked so cute! I was a crab in The Water Babies….scuttling back and forth…sideways.

    Probably a good thing I was expelled. I’d never have been good at the annorexia requirement!

  8. sundayschild says:

    If i recall rightly, i wore a green swimming costume thingy made out of lining material, embellished with large foam rubber leaves that emerged flatteringly from the hips, the whole ensemble lavishly embellished with glued on silver glitter that shed… Sadly, my performance that year was eclipsed by my brother’s. He was the pig in
    Tom, Tom, the piper’s son
    Stole a pig and away did run…

    My brother refused to let ‘Tom’ catch him, and making realistic pig squeal noises fled the stage to hide in the audience.
    I guess we’re just not cut out to be a stage family…
    And no, i wouldn’t have been much good at the annorexia thing either.

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