Saturday, October 08, 2011

Ballerina girl

I make it no secret that I am thrilled Jordan asked for ballet lessons and she has taken to it like a fish to water. I regretted every minute that I never got to start ballet when I was her age. By the time I picked it up, I had been trained in a sport that used muscles most counter intuitive to ballet dancers. That meant undoing a lot of what I had learnt over the years. But I loved it and I had a wonderful ballet teacher who taught me how to dance with my soul and how that could make up for less than perfect feet and turn out.

And when I had Jordan, I hoped that she would love it too. At the same time, I swore that I was never going to push her into doing it because I wanted her to do it for love, like I did. So when she asked for ballet lessons, I waited almost a year before I signed her up, to make sure that it wasn't just a passing fad.

I don't think she will ever be like my ballet teacher who, in my opinion was one of the greats in the world. Neither would she be the next Sylvie Guillen or Darcey Bussell. I don't dream of her winning awards or going to the Royal Ballet School. But I do hope that she will love it, benefit from it in terms of carriage, flexibility and musicality.

She is having a lot of fun. She gets to toss feathers, run and wave tassels around and mime dramatically. It's for 45 minutes on a Saturday and despite the fact that it is a ridiculously mad rush to get there, to see her having fun in a world of Tchaikovsky music and pretty pink chiffon seems to make it all okay. Even though she finds doing splits and kissing the floor painful, she doesn't quite give up. And that is where all those years of my ballet come in handy. To coax her and help her stretch up those hardly-ever-used inner thigh muscles.

And what does Evan do while his sister counts fingers to tinsely music and bunny hops across the studio floor? He sits in front imperiously and watches her like a stern ballet master. We've asked if he wants to take the class. The teacher has asked him too because when he fools around after class with her, she has been amused and impressed by his remarkable ability to jump. And in her words, "we need strong, good looking boys to jump and partner the girls".

Will he rise to it? Thankfully, if he chooses to, his father won't say no.

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