At the end of class we did sort of a bow thing that was kind of poetic (after I decided that it wasn’t lame). The pianist played a little song and we did these grand bows/curtsies in her direction, and then we turned and did the same to our teacher while she did the same to us. And then we clapped. We always end with clapping. We clap for the pianist, for the instructor, and then for each other (I’m also clapping for myself).
It made me think how lovely it is to be in ballet classes, and how it does exercise your body but that’s not the main purpose. It’s cultural. It’s artful. And it makes you feel something other than endorphins. When the teacher was explaining fondues today I realized how figurative language plays such a big role in ballet, and how interesting that is. Fondue means to melt, which is what the step looks like. But I think we were all sucking at it. To help us understand the movement our teacher explained it in terms of things that melt, and pull, like a bite of cheese pizza, a spoon full of onion soup, fondue itself. I remember this from being a child in ballet classes, everything was a metaphor and steeped in imagination: pretend you’re doing this movement in water, stretch your body like strings of melted cheese, imagine you have a thread coming out of the top of your head attached to the ceiling. To melt, to strike, etc., etc.
I sometimes wonder if ballet informed my love of literature and writing as much as literature itself. In other words, at a very early age I was exposed to such meaningful creativity; not just playing make-believe, but words that connected to my imagination that connected to movements that connected to music that created dance. It really feels very artful, although my dancing ability is not what it once was, and my body is not able to do what I feel I want to, what I remember.
To be continued.
Image Credit: Salvador Dalí, The Persistence of Memory, 1931