i quite agree that ballet is an art to be enjoyed from a distance. in college a friend and i had a similar up close & personal view, which resulted in both of us dissolving into giggles as we watched the corps de ballet struggle: sweaty chests heaving, gasping for breath, bra straps slipping into view (long before madonna made that cool), and quivering arms & legs straining to maintain their hold. we, meanwhile, were shamelessly out of control.
and i should have known much, much better. you see, i served a good five year sentence at the barre, eventually en pointe three times a week. the teacher must have felt i had talent; she wanted me to up it to four days. one night as i soaked in the tub soothing my aching muscles, i realized i had absolutely no intention of becoming a ballerina. i didn’t begin lessons with that shiny-eyed goal, and i assure you my attitude during class was more “when will this torture be over?” than “i am a dansah.”
it all came crashing down in junior high – i know, a common refrain from me – when they cast me as the duck in the joan wolf school of ballet peter and the wolf gala. or, they tried to cast me as the duck. the entire boom-boom-quack choreography focused on exaggerated gyrations of the posterior, better known as wiggling. the teachers considered me a shoo-in. i balked. the idea of being onstage in a duck outfit with a spotlight on my shimmying, swiveling, bump & grind ass was just too much. it was bad enough that taunting nickname had followed me from elementary school to a regional junior high.
so, my true bosom friend diane took the part and was a smash. “how’d you do it?” i asked. “easy,” diane replied, “i just imitated you.”