January 30, 2007

Ballet Mom

Snapshots In My Time...
Of My Time.....Hauntings.

When I was 4 my mother signed me up for ballet lessons with the city ballet in my town. I loved ballet but in the beginning I did not like to practice at home. After awhile I got into my mother's routine. Go to class 2 days a week and then practice for an hour at home in the mirror on the other days. I began to get pretty good. When ever we had recitals, we had to go to class on saturdays also. When I turned 6 and entered the first grade, some of us were old enough to dance in the Nutcracker Suite at Christmas time. We had to audition of course and be selected to dance.

I tried out and was selected to dance in the teapot scene. Was I ever proud and so was my mother. I was in first grade and not only did we perform for the public at night, but we also performed for the schools during the day. Just about all the local schools took field trips to see the Nutcracker.

I felt like a real ballerina "star" because I had to miss school to practice and perform for the local schools. Now behind the scenes there were some real divas who were katty and some were very stuck up. But that did not matter when it came to the dance. All that was put behind when the curtains rose. We had had a very busy week performing each night and during the day. On the friday before the last weekend of the show I was at practice at the auditorium and a few of us were joking around. Playing. We were only 6 yrs. old or so in the teapot scene.

Well some of us were running and I somehow ran my right toe into a wall. The pain was unlike anything I had felt before. The 3 other girls running with me stopped and gathered around. We all looked scared as we were not supposed to be running any way. I tried to walk. I had to limp. How could I dance? Luckily we were at the end of practice and were waiting for parents to pick us up. We heard some of the older girls who were sugar plum faeries coming into the dressing room where we were and I had to recover and quick. Noone could know I was hurt or it would ruin the show. We did not have a replacement or alternate for my part. The alternates were already being used because some of the original girls chosen did not participate.

I steeled myself. My other friends with me knew better than to tell what happened. We would all be in big trouble. We all kept silent. Somehow I walked very slowly and deliberately with my ballet bag out the door to meet my parents without limping.

When I got home I told my mother what happened. I was still in extreme pain and I told her that I thought my toe was broken. To this day I know that it was broken. I told her that I could not walk and that she needed to call the school and tell my teacher that I was out of the final saturday performance. My mother was very upset. She was mad at me and mad that I would not be in the final show. I told her I had danced a show every week day during the day and had danced several night shows but I simply could not dance. She refused to call my teacher. She said I must dance.

Well, with that she began to do all sorts of home remedies to make my toe get better so that I could finish out the week. She had me soak it, apply heat, ice, topical medications like Absorbene Junior and all sorts of creams and other ointments. Nothing really worked. I needed to be seem by a doctor and most likely needed some crutches. I saw no doctor and was told to stay off it and walk just to dance. I was going to dance. There was no way I was not going to according to my mother.

Well Saturday came and I was still in pain. After taking many pain pills and wrapping my toe, I was able to walk without a limp even though each step casued me extreme pain. My face could show no pain either. I was a dancer. My mom said that to be a great dancer I had to dance through the pain. As this was going to be the final show, I felt that I would be able to make it. I had to. I had no other choice.

The curtain rose and the performance began. I waited and listened with my friends for our musical cues. We got into position and danced the teapot scene. All was good until the very end. I was able to make all my steps until the very end. When we were exiting the stage, I was about one step behind all the others due to pain. It was a flawless performance until that exit. At last it was over and I was happy with being one step behind. I had made it through until the exit. It was over.


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