Dance Class

Saturdays, I take my 4-year-old to what is affectionately termed “Creative Movement”- a beginner’s ballet class for preschoolers. It’s anything but creative- what with first position, second position and releves. The girls learn precision and details like pointed toes. Parents watch from outside the studio, sneaking furtive glances at their very pink progeny as they dance.

And I use that word- dance– lightly.

Mostly it’s like watching a herd of uncoordinated water buffaloes during mating season. Huffing, grunting, and banging the floor with anything but grace, they strive to copy their teacher’s movements and her enjoinder to use “pretty arms”.

Pretty arms they are not. My daughter’s are double-jointed, so when she attempts the slightly curved, soft ballet arms, she ends up looking like a puppet whose strings have been tangled. Or a broken flamingo.

My favorite part, however, comes near the end of the class, when Miss Emily leads them in practicing their “grand jete”. A felt “puddle” is placed midway in the studio, and the girls, one by one, get a running start and leap over the puddle in all their elephantine grace.

On the way back, they have to yell “GRAND JETE!!!” as they leap. It sounds something like this:


ALWAYS draws a crowd.

But as I sit there snickering into my latte and trying to hold back any audible snorts, I am struck by the passion, the dedication, and the un-selfconciousness that it takes to throw yourself through the air, the whole class watching, legs splayed, arms a-flying.

This is me, I think.

I don’t fly like Miss Emily. I don’t glide in, all elegant shoes and manicured nails. I don’t have the catchy turn of phrase, the pithy insight into humanity and the world. Mostly I’m navigating this world bewildered, shouting words in a foreign language, and I just know that God’s sitting in the waiting room, snickering at me over the NY Times.

In the end I don’t know how it works- if I stand before Him and he asks me why He should let me into Paradise, or if it’s some sort of movie night where scenes from my life are played and reviewed (God turns to the Spirit and says, “Well, I give her a thumbs-up for raising her kids right but her soup-kitchen service is less than inspiring..”).

But until that moment comes, the only way I know how to live this is to throw myself into it. Arms splayed, legs akimbo, leaping for all I’m worth, and yelling into the void. I may not know the words, but what else are we here for?


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11 Responses to Dance Class

  1. KathyB! says:

    That was fabulous, evenshine, really fabulous. I love how you write : ) And it is so true — the things you said and the comparison you’ve drawn.

    So, you’re quite prolific today… do you have class on Monday?! Office hours??

    : )

  2. Adriana says:

    What a great metaphor! As I danced ballet for many years, I will apply this to my life. From now on I shall start every day with a Grand Jete!

    Great post. REALLY.

  3. evenshine says:

    Thanks, KB and A!

    KB- no, on a break from school. A little more time to myself! (And blogging at work? Not gonna happen!)

  4. erin says:

    she’s double-jointed? never knew that. i must come to one of these classes!

  5. erin says:

    oh, and i agree with the ladies above. very cool image/life goal. go for it!

  6. Chelsea says:

    Oh my goodness what a wonderful post. I reposted the C. S. Lewis quote a couple entries down so I thought I would comment so you’d know I was here. 🙂 This post really made me smile, your writing is lovely and the image is just so right. I’m so uncoordinated I pretty much just stumble and flail my way through life, but I like the idea that God is sort of good-naturedly snickering at me. Thank you for sharing.

  7. evenshine says:

    Thanks, E and Chelsea!

  8. “the pithy insight into humanity” – I think maybe you have that.

    “God’s sitting in the waiting room, snickering at me over the NY Times.” I LOVE this image. I’m not convinced that would be God’s choice of reading material (heh), but this image is perfection!

    Thanks for visiting my blog. I know you hang out at Emily’s place wheels on the bus. I do too – she’s great!

  9. evenshine says:

    Amy- thanks for the encouragement. Enjoying your blog (even when you’re on E).

    Emily at WOTB is great, too. We frequently disagree but I still enjoy her insights.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  10. Gibby says:

    LOVED this.

  11. faemom says:

    Great post. Truly awesome. I love that you take your daughter to ballet class and can have a sense of humor about it. It must be quite amusing to watch.

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