Monday, April 5, 2010

Ballet Revisited

When I was three Gigi put me in ballet. I loved it. It was fun and interesting because my teacher had a Spanish accent and I had a lot of trouble understanding her. Gigi would ask me after class how I liked it and how the class had gone for the day. I would tell her, “It was fun, but Miss Blanca likes to clean a lot. She’s always talking about Lysol.” Gigi was very confused, until she heard Miss Blanca say ‘Let’s all’—which (in my defense) did sound a lot like ‘Lysol’.

I loved the leotards and tights and ballet slippers and tutus. I loved the bar exercises and all of the moves and music. I loved it all—at least that’s how I remember it.

I do remember that there were parts that were VERY challenging for me. Skipping almost put me over the edge. I could do one knee up, but not the other one. Gigi had to walk me to class and home for a couple of weeks to help me learn how to skip—with both legs.

And then there’s the whole left-right thing. I have always had trouble remembering my left from my right. It’s very tricky when it comes to a lot of things like following directions, driving, dancing—and when I was three, it was very tricky for ballet. It made it even more complicated for the recital. I was really worried about messing up because of this problem. And so Gigi came to the rescue. She made me a wrist band, out of a ribbon, Velcro, and a flower, to put on my right wrist so I could remember. It’s a good thing, too, because when the recital rolled around my class of 12 or so dwindled down to 2 and the other girl refused to go on stage. My teacher stood behind the curtain and did our “I’m a Little Tea Pot” routine with me. If I hadn’t had that wrist band, I couldn’t have remembered which was my handle and which was my spout.

That was the end of my ballet career. Other things came up, there wasn’t time or money or whatever and I just never took classes again. And I guess that’s why it’s so much fun to watch Joy in her class. She was DYING to take ballet for the longest time and we finally got her into a class in January. We got her the required attire, we prepped her (mentally) as best we could, and took her to class. And she was very serious and dedicated for the first class and a half. And midway through the second class she decided that there was more to ballet than just being a serious student.

Parents are not allowed in the room, but we can watch through the window. I can’t hear what she’s saying, but I can see her talking—almost the entire class. And I see the teacher saying, “OK, now let’s…” and then Joy starts talking again. I think she talks more than the teacher. And then they start their warm ups and exercises. Joy must think that flinging herself onto the floor or making wacky faces is a way to show the teacher (and probably me) how passionate she is about ballet. She spends more time falling on the floor than she does doing plies. (And, mind you, I only get to watch the class in 20 second intervals because I am chasing Marlo around the studio.) But in those 20 second snippets, I see Joy doing belly flops on the floor, eating her snack, spilling her drink, whipping her hair around, and hanging on the bar “I Love Lucy” style.

There are a few things that remind me of my former dancing days. For one, she gets confused with her right and her left. Miss Kris has to get her to do her individual exercises (usually) more than once because she’s on the wrong foot. That doesn’t bother her in the least—just ask her, she’ll talk you through the whole thing, and give you the play by play, then recap it about 20 times just in case you missed something. Another thing that brings back some memories is that there are certain things she has trouble doing—not skipping, because they don’t skip in her class, but other things cause her problems. And I smile because I know eventually she’ll get it.

Sometimes when she’s acting like a goof I am thankful that I have to run around after Marlo because I can pretend that I don’t see what she’s doing. Other times I try to get her attention to get her to stop messing around and pay attention to the teacher, but she catches sight of me out of the corner of her eye, and then she purposely ignores me. There really are no words—what can I say? She’s 4 and she loves life and she loves to dance. And I love her.

What else is there to say?

Posted by The Editor for Busy Body.

1 comment:

  1. I laughed hard. Thank you. My daughter is in ballet - she thought the little girls looked like princesses and that's her career of choice at the moment. She could gallop, but not skip. We spent all Saturday afternoon skipping up and down our driveway to practice. The whole family was there. Up and down. She can skip...though you can tell she's really concentrating.


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