I take Lilah to ballet every Wednesday. I dress her in her little tights and her black leotard, and she bubbles over with excitement as she greets each child by name. I sit at a table with the other mothers, looking up at our cuties through the closed circuit TV. My daughter is the youngest and the smallest. She’s the most enthusiastic.
She’s also – forgive me – clearly the least graceful student these poor teachers have ever had.
When it’s time to jump backwards along the mat, she puts her arms up in the air, billows over with glee, and jumps in the same spot over and over. She thinks she’s moving backwards, but she’s more or less getting nowhere. Bless those other children, they give her some time to make progress, but eventually, they have to just pass her. Then it’s time to pair up and do some sort of sideways stepping around. Somehow, my daughter’s feet get all tangled up with one another. No matter; nothing could possibly dim her joy and complete conviction that she is a dancer.
She does excel in some areas. She knows not only every single position, but also the French names for the various places to put your legs. If it isn’t just like a child of mine to get it verbally but be completely incapable of translating it to actual motion.
She comes out of class, bursting with joie d vivre and aglow with her many completely imagined successes. She tells me each time, “We had a disco party, even though it wasn’t anyone’s birthday!” Her favorite part of the disco party, by the way, is when the music stops and she gets to hug someone. She waves goodbye to the other girls repeatedly, often running completely naked out of our changing booth just to say hello to some girl from her class who is also in the nude. Once changed, she stops to look at the pictures on the wall, she gets her hand stamp, and she bustles out, full of grace and love for dance.
Sometimes we even make it to the car without her tripping over her own shoes.