All day yesterday I wanted to talk about these kids in this dance class I’m assisting. In an effort to bring dance back into my life, I’ve started assisting dance classes at Mark Morris Dance Center and help each Wednesday with the Creative Movement, Intro to Ballet and Ballet classes for ages 5-7. Both teachers are just the right amount of strict, which means that I’m the one who gets to gush up how cute they are. Which they are. Very and entirely sweet and cute. And teaching in the way feels akin to childhood itself. Most of the time we’re asked to move as colors or textures or ways the winds blow. Don’t you love modern dance teachers? Everything is a color or a texture or an emotion. Making dancers more like painters than anyone’s willing to admit.
In my hometown our ballet school did not teach modern, or even jazz, dance to dancers under twelve because they were concerned about teaching girls to move from their hips. Which is completely ridiculous because of course, all of dance comes from the hips. They were incredible though and introduce a lot of people to the world of dance in an otherwise dance dry town. Jensen’s School of Dance, I thank you.
Jensen’s had a dance team called The Fancy Dancers. These Fancy Dancers got to compete. They would fly or drive around the country and state tapping their little eyelashes off for these incredible trophies. And they were each totally fuckable. ALL of the girls in the fancy dancers were the first girls to get noticed in high school. They ALL had pretty nice boobs and a confidence about their beauty. And why shouldn’t they be confident? They were crowned the fanciest of dancers. God bless them all.
When the competing (modern focused) dance school opened up across town the fancy dancers were pissed. They were the dance school in town. They knew how to dance. The new dance school doesn’t even have padded wooden floors! But they couldn’t deny it. The new school was better. It wasn’t as weird to go to the new school, there were actual modern dance classes and the quality was higher. What’s more? There were no dancers dubbed fancy or not so fancy. Everyone danced! There was the team that competed because the school did not believe dance should be competition based. That dance isn’t inherently about whose better or whose worse but what is the experience you’re having?
Though, the tap classes at the old school were better. Much better. So I stayed tapping at Jensen’s and would go to ballet at the new school. My tights were the kind you rolled over your feet for ballet class and could unroll them to put on your shoes or air out your feet or whatever other weird foot things dancers need at any given moment. So I kept my tights on for both classes but put some black jazz pants over my ballet tights before tap class for fear I’d get called out in tap class.
My fear was in vain. One day while my tap teacher with the long legs came over to me to listen to my flap she saw my tights. “What are those?” she asked. “What?” I’d reply with dough eyes. “Are those ballet tights?” she followed. “Jensen’s doesn’t teach ballet on Wednesdays. Where are you taking ballet?” Her frown was as wide as her eyebrows. Her long brown hair now a sort of evil spirit aureole of demons and tyrants cloak. “You’re taking ballet at Adage aren’t you?”
I just stared at her. The cat was out of the bag.
“Well,” I followed her follow. “I like their ballet classes more.” Fuck! Why did I tell the truth? This was a situation where the truth was not welcomed.
“Better?” She scowled. “They don’t even have the right floors. So you can dance there, buts it messing up your feet.” What I didn’t tell her was that Jensen’s and their Fancy Dancers were messing up my heart. Plus we got to use our hips.