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TALES FROM CENTER STAGE

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I did ballet for 6 years before I got all curvy in middle school and quit.  But my dream of being a (tiny) dancer never died.  I still dance in my living room.  And sometimes after 6 or 7 drinks I can convince Hubby to lift me up a la’ the end scene in Dirty Dancing which is magical and horrifying all wrapped into one.
Years ago my parents lived in Brasil as Ex-Pats.  On one of our visits down there my mom and I went to a yoga class together.  I didn’t understand one word that instrutor de ioga was saying.  But there we were sitting on the floor, my flexible ex-dancer legs wide open; my torso on the ground. I noticed instrutor de ioga lean over to my mother and whisper something.  Mom nodded back. I cock my head around to Mom (torso still on the ground between my legs) and eagerly whisper “Did she just tell you that she thought I was a dancer??”  Mom let out a snort and whispered back an exaggerated “Noooo.”  I will never live that moment down.

Hubby knows I love all things dance.  I think it really sunk in for him when I equated the smell of roslin on toe shoes to his love of stank-hockey equipment.   A month before Miss P. was born he presented me with tickets to Balanchine/Robbins happening exactly 6 weeks after my due date.  I looked forward to it every day.  It ended up being my first time out of the house without her.  When the time came I got way too dressed up for a matinee and sported three back to back nursing pads inside the ugliest maternity bra you can think of.  I told myself to even indulge in a full glass of wine.  (I had three.) Our seats were amazing.  If I was hungry I could have taken a chunk out of the flutist stick.  We were that close.  At half-time, (as Hubby called it) we checked in with my in-laws and heard Miss P wailing in the background.  Hubby mumbled something about seeing enough balls in tights to last him a lifetime and beelined it to the car; allowing me the opportunity to stay and see the whole performance.  The wine goggles I was wearing allowed me to think that that was a great idea. Thank God for the nursing pads.

Last Monday the Children’s Museum had members of the Nutcracker Ballet there to put on little snippets from the show.  I was so excited to bring Miss P and point out the details like the Ballerina’s pretty tutus, the hair buns, and the toe shoe ribbons.  All of the things that make me smile.  When we got there the live stuffed bear was waiting outside and P was not a fan.  She didn’t even try to high-five him which was a bad sign considering she tries high-fiving every bum we see on the street.  We went into the theater early and I let her choose her own seat.  She chose the back row and I was crestfallen.  I explained that if we sat closer she might enjoy it more.  That didn’t work so I resorted to playing a game of chase to land in the second row.  I claimed our seats and gave Miss P a snack in the hopes it would occupy her while we waited for the mini-show to start.  She was immediately squirmy and ready to ditch the hard benches for a ride in the “Car-Car” upstairs. But then the music started and the curtain rose and I noticed her eyes grow wide and her movements calm.  My heart melted.  Her hand patting her heart.  The mesmerized glare.  I would pass up watching any ballet in the world to watch my daughter do this.


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