Thursday, June 11, 2009

Gotta Dance!

If you study or have studied ballet at all seriously, you know that "class" is a daily ritual and a world unto itself. I'm fortunate to be able to study where many top professionals do, and, ability and accomplishment (and, crucially, age) aside, we're all equal when we get into that studio for the satisfying ritual beginning with pliĆ©s and tendus and ending with a lot of toweling off and swigging from water bottles. It's a bonus when we have a really good pianist: I favor one who plays a lot of the Great American Songbook. Sondheim's "Broadway Baby" really gets me going. Maybe I would dance better if he played it all the time. 

The social aspect is also important, even though the conversation tends to stay on the subjects of dance performances or one's physical problems such as sore metatarsals or shin splints. What's also enjoyable for a lot of us is the formality of a classical technique class. You really have to shut up and listen to the teacher. There is a certain order and regularity here that has disappeared from most other aspects of twenty-first-century life. And you still applaud the teacher at the end of class.

Some of us whose interests range widely beyond dance are also amused by the recently installed tile work in the ladies' dressing room. It appears to be a pre-Raphaelite type of scene with Victorian ladies decorously splashing in a Roman bath. I have always wanted to attach a cartoon balloon at the top with "Has everybody signed into class?" coming out of the mouth of the woman in the doorway. 

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