Observing class, while at times informative and albeit necessary, can become a bit bland over time. However, there are times that it becomes invaluable.
It was a regular Saturday morning– colder today (fall is on its way)– one which involved a trip to ballet class as it had for the past 12 years. When you dance for that long, the morning ritual of stark lattés, Ibuprofen, and pink tights becomes something of second nature. It’s only when you sit at the front of the room rather than stand at the barre that you can understand its meaning. Everybody lines up, in elegant leotards and ripped tights, messy French twists and tangled jewelry. The pianist settles in, and the teacher instructs “pliés” to the room of yawning dancers.
The pianist begins to play. It is a soft, meaningful song, and one of my favorites. I’d been hoping he’d play this song all morning. My heart a little warmer…a deep breath…and the combination begins. As the girls dance to the music, things begin to make sense, and others fade out of focus.
A stolen glance at a friend across the barre– two girls that would much rather be elsewhere, but here they are anyway. A girl staring critically into the mirror. The pain of my broken foot. The cached layer of concealer I applied that morning. The tap-tap of pointe shoes that haven’t been worn in yet against the marley. The mechanical squeal of the barre as it is pulled from side to side. The ominous counting of the teacher. The constant murmur from outside the door.
For a moment, everything made sense…until it didn’t anymore. The music stopped playing. The shuffling of feet. I take a sip of my coffee. It wasn’t until then that I realized my heart had stopped beating to the rhythm of the gorgeous song; and I feel a pang in my heart that I’m sitting in the front of the room, rather than gliding across the floor where I belong.
The class goes on, the teacher keeps teaching, the pianist keeps playing. The moment has passed.
But it seems to linger there– something to come back to– something to hold on to– something to dream about tonight.