Friday, March 26, 2010
I started dance lessons when I was 10 years old. I don’t remember why; whether I asked for lessons or my mother thought it would be a good activity. I know I was extremely active, running and jumping all the time; cartwheels and somersaults in the front yard; using the bed as a trampoline; so maybe she hoped it would be a good way to expend more energy. Whatever the reason, it was love at first lesson for me. I started with jazz and then added ballet and tap. When I was old enough, and that couldn’t come soon enough, I was able to start pointe, every little ballerina’s dream. I still have my last toe shoes tucked away in a box. I still will start tapping for no reason in the kitchen. There are some aspects of those years of dance I don’t recall, but the purchase of those first toe shoes, that memory will stay with me forever. The first lesson in pointe; getting ready, putting on those toe shoes, I’ll remember that always. The lamb’s wool had to be placed just so on the toes, then the shoes put on and the laces laced just right. Then there was the sound of the new shoes hitting the floor and finally the pain at the end of the lesson. But oh what a feeling, to be a ballerina.
For the next five years I lived the life of a young dancer. There were lessons and Saturday practices for recitals. There were more lessons and fatigue and sore muscles. There was great joy in dancing for the folks at the local retirement homes. There were bleeding toes and more sore muscles and I can’t remember a time I had more fun. I still remember Phil Phillips, the young man who was the premiere male dancer and Barbara, the premiere female dancer. I still remember Mr. Jack Tygett and his wife Marge Tygett, the dance instructors. I remember the small little studio in a neighborhood mall; I remember the little dressing room off the studio; the camaraderie of my fellow students; the music. Oh and the joy of twirling across the floor doing three step turns or flying through the air doing the grande jete leaps.