Sunday, April 3, 2011
Dancing through the weekend
I went down to the studio and folded programs on Friday night, picking up bits of wisdom from other moms. Last night I watched the show. It was good. Today I worked backstage, hooking tutus and snipping errant threads and learning that it's possible to keep a leotard from sliding off the chest by putting a piece of double-sided tape between cloth and skin.
I worked in the dressing room with the oldest dancers, the ones who are about to go out into the ballet world. It was impressive: the kids were incredibly focused and organized. Their talk was casual, relaxed, centered on which piece went well and what mishap occurred, whose costume fell apart or what finally felt fabulous. Some of the girls change in front of the boys, and some (I was relieved to find) do not. They hang up their costumes, set up their fast changes, come to you with scissors if they need to be snipped out of their sewn-up bodices.
Across the hall was the dressing room for the 14 and 15 year olds. The kids in there were different: focused when they needed to be, but playing popular music and chattering about school between pieces. They were ready when they needed to be ready, teared up a bit if they made a big mistake, and were already adept at stage makeup. Like the oldest group, they knew how to hairspray pointe shoe ribbons to make them lie flat.
The next-younger group (where Dancer was) was stationed furthest from the stage, where they exploded with excitement and giggles, and played Mafia and card games to kill the time. They brought laptops on the pretense of doing homework, and went on Facebook instead. Most of them still worried a bit about whether they'd get their choreography right, if they'd land that piroutte beautifully or exit in the wrong part of the wing. On stage their faces alternated between being solemn and smiling; they are still in the process of mastering the perpetual, glorious ballet smile. They are lissome and coltish, emerging with grace from the ranks of little kids into the world of serious dancers.
Brava, Dancer. You are beautiful, hard-working, and incredible. You make me proud.