PEN&INKee^POSSIBILITIES: Ballet’s details

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By Kirsten Laskey

My sister and I both took ballet lessons as kids. And while my sister embraced the art for years, my reception to it was only lukewarm.

To tell the truth, my favorite part was the costumes. As long as I had a tutu filled with tulle and sequins, I was pretty much content.

Kim took things farther. She actually wore those satin pink toe shoes. When she received her first pair, she let me try them on. I quickly found out that for this art, you have to accept some degree of pain.

The pointe shoes pinched my toes and it hurt to rise up onto the very tip of the shoe. This was not for me. But Kim swathed her toes with band-aids and tape to continue learning this art form.

So I feel confident that my sister must have felt some pride as she watched her daughter in her first ballet recital a few weeks ago.

For me, it was great to see parents at their children’s recital. They sat with their video cameras and pops of camera flashes filled the auditorium.

There were bouquets of flowers everywhere.

My niece, being only 3, did a simple dance. There was some speculation that she would run off the stage and cry for her mother, but my sister’s daughter proved she could deliver when it was needed.

After the dance, my sister and her husband gave her a bunch of flowers and I bought her some, too. Flowers, in addition to costumes, were really valuable to me as a child dancer. I remember one of my first recitals where one girl received a bouquet of flowers and the rest of us did not. A woman, probably the girl’s mother, sought to rectify the situation by giving all of us a flower from the bouquet. I did not want a flower. After seeing that girl hold her floral arrangement, I wanted my parents to give me my own bunch of flowers.  

I guess you could say I was more interested in the minute details of ballet rather than the actual art from.

Still, I bought my niece a bouquet so she wouldn’t feel that same bummed out feeling I felt decades ago.  It was great to see her reaction. She grasped a bunch of flowers in each fist like scepters, and trotted merrily around the auditorium.

My sister is more knowing of the real heart of ballet and she seems eager to share this with her daughter. I heard Kim explain to her how great she had danced and I couldn’t help but wonder if my niece might wear those pink satin toe shoes soon.

Kim might be thinking the same thing; she wants to take her daughter to see the older students perform in another recital, as if she hopes to rev up her daughter’s excitement to learn more about ballet.

Me, I just hope my niece gets the chance to wear a full array of pretty tutus.