Swan Lake hopes dashed

I tried a drop-in ballet class this weekend and let me tell you, it’s a lot more fun when you’re six and in love with your pink slippers—your every awkward move praised by Miss Susan, ballet teacher extraordinaire, than when you’re thirtysomething, refusing to wear tights and wishing you had taken French so that you could understand the orders being barked at you. And you assume (incorrectly) that intermediate is a fine level because it will all come back to you, won’t it?

Plié

Relevé

Jeté

Glissade

What, what?

I’m concentrating so hard on copying the experienced dancers but I’m still two steps behind and not at all graceful. I’m pretty sure the teacher is talking to me when he says, “Do not fling your arms about!” and “Do not grip the barre like you want to hurt it.”

I remember, eventually, to point my fingers in that silly, affected manner and that a plié is like a squat (“Do not squat!” Or not), and I take solace in the fact that the one male dancer in the class knows what he is doing but has almost fainted from the exertion. Miss Susan, I need you.

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