woes of a clumsy ballerina

7 Apr

If you’ve never had massive amounts of bobby pins scraped against your gel-laden scalp while wearing a tutu then you’ve never lived.  If you haven’t, then consider me jealous of your childhood.

Mine as I’m sure you’ve gathered-involved ballet.

Seven years of it.  That’s a long span of public humiliation.  My mother was behind it.  She had this image of me as a graceful, thin, elegant blonde dancer.

I am many things, but dancer and elegant are not amongst the adjectives that first pop into mind when considering my own character.  Nevertheless, mothers are blind to certain realities, and so it was that I suffered through my slipper, tights, and leotard donning prison sentence.

The British Dance Academy was run by a herd of strict, sadistic ballet instructors.  Think Nurse Ratchet does dance.  If Iraq had called for a dance-off, these women could have ended the damn war by drafting in their troops.  Any child between the ages of six and eighteen who had passed the most recent bi-annual exam would have kicked the sand with their pointed toes in time to brise it back home for dinner.   I don’t think I would have made the draft, but that’s a direct consequence of my relationship with the exams.

They were horrible ordeals involving a panel of stone-wall faced women.  Each trembling ballerina was sent in solo, to perform her duties to the judges.  Being as graceful as an elephant, this was always a problem for me, but when I was nine-it was especially horrendous.

The night before my exam, I prepared my tights, slippers, leotard and went to grab my skirt out of my dance bag.  Only children between five and seven actually wore the tutus, once we reached eight-we were upgraded to satin wrap around skirts.

Which is where my demise occurred.

Somehow during the last rehearsal, I had mixed my skirt with another girls, a girl in my class who was far, far bigger than myself.  Her exam was not until a week after mine, and as I had put off preparing myself until the last minute, there was no time left to inform my mother of this mistake.  The skirt wrapped around my tummy with FAR too much extra fabric.  So I did what any girl would do.

I put on my MacGyver thinking cap, and went to work coming up with a plan that would allow me to wear her skirt and finish my exam without telling my mother of the problem.  I would fix it myself.

Which is why the following morning, I showed up to my ballet exam wearing a total of fifteen pair of cotton panties underneath my tights and leotard, which were underneath the sweatpants I wore over them on the car ride.

Hence, my mother could not see what her genius daughter was up to.

I strode into the examination room, faced the judges, and by all accounts looked like a girl in a diaper.

And then of course, I danced.

If youtube had existed back then, I am sure I would have become an instant sensation.  Luckily for me, I was sent out with strict instruction to relocate my own skirt, and a long-winded lecture explaining that my solution was preposterous, undignified, and a disgrace to the world of ballet.

To be fair, I’m pretty sure that with or without my extra undies, I was forever doomed to be a stain on the world of dance.


10 Responses to “woes of a clumsy ballerina”

  1. Juliana April 7, 2010 at 3:53 pm #

    hahaha! how dare they not see the genius in your plan?? they should’ve applauded you, these heartless hags.

  2. kacysue April 7, 2010 at 3:55 pm #

    Props for the idea! I probably would have just ran off crying and thinking the world had ended. My stepmother was a professional ballet dancer so it was pretty impossible for me to ever be good enough in ballet. I was glad I quit!

  3. Holly Renee April 7, 2010 at 7:37 pm #

    I like how they lectured you on why it was undignified and ridiculous. LOL, as if that makes a difference to a child. I, too, am rather ungraceful and feel lucky that I didn’t have to endure dance in my childhood. Although I did try tap dance, and I was awful.

  4. Man-shopper April 7, 2010 at 11:54 pm #

    1. MacGyver would have been proud.
    2. The strict, sadistic ballet instructors obviously never watched MacGyver.
    3. MacGyver is a stud.
    4. Your nine-year-old ballet skills would probably still eclipse my current eye-flirting skills.

    That is all.

  5. Gnetch April 8, 2010 at 5:05 am #

    But that was a good idea! Haha! And when I put on my McGyver thinking cap, I always come up with ideas that involve explosions. Oh well.

    Did you find your own skirt?

    • wanderingmenace April 8, 2010 at 6:48 am #

      @juliana: yes, old hags indeed. I’m guessing they were just jealous.

      @kacysue: My mother couldn’t do ballet to save her life, so I can’t imagine the horror if she were a professional.

      @Holly: It definitely made no difference to this kid, thats for damn sure

      @Man-Shopper: your eye-flirting skills are monumentally fantastic

      @Gnetch: I got it back from the girl a week later.

  6. S.I.F. April 8, 2010 at 6:47 am #

    Oh I would have been a ballerina failure for sure too. No doubt about it.

    You just seriously cracked me up!

  7. Kernut April 8, 2010 at 4:57 pm #

    Oh no! LAMO This reminded me of an embarrassing underwear story when I was around 10… My mother was rather frugal (that’s putting it mildly) when it came to buying my sister and I clothes. This meant I had underwear so old the elastic was shot. Not thinking, I was jumping rope one day, while two people held either side. One was a cute boy. Jumping, jumping, jumping, underwear slides down immediately dropping to my shoes, stop jumping, grab underwear and pull up while cute boy laughs. *sigh* That probably explains my obsession with underwear now.

  8. subWOW April 9, 2010 at 4:01 pm #

    LOL. What an awesome quick thinking brain! And indeed what a shame there was no YouTube back then. Although I am laughing now, I do feel sorry for the little girl you. {{{hugs}}} When you were at that age, anything could seem terrifying and the end of the world-ish.

    I have two left feet. Fortunately my mother was obsessed with piano instead. No wait. I may have two right hands…


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