I’ve made no secret of the fact that I am a ridonkulous klutz. When God formed the line for grace, I was apparently in line for seconds at the Heavenly Diet Sun Drop kiosk.
I flunked out of tap and ballet at an early age. To the best of my recollection, I only had about two years under my belt. I cried a lot. Unfortunately—even though the length of my sentence was brief—photographic evidence exists to this day of me clad in horrible 70’s costumes and striking mortifying poses. I even remember that one of my tap routines was to the tune of “Zippity Doo Dah” and trust me when I tell you that I get a chill when I hear the tune to this very day.
Lord have mercy.
How bad am I? Well, have you ever watched a dance class or an aerobics class where the whole class steps to the left except for the poor clueless soul who steps to the right? You know, the one who claps just a second after the rest of the group claps in unison? The one who stands up when everyone else squats? Yeah, that would be me.
Even my beloved husband, on our second date at the Peace College Spring Formal, had the nerve to tell me that I was dancing like one of the chicks from the Robert Palmer “Addicted to Love” video. The only thing that saved him was the fact that he was right. Nonetheless, that fateful evening was the last time I ever attempted to cut a rug (slow dances notwithstanding seeing as they require no rhythm whatsoever).
With the memories of my past debacles in the forefront of my mind, I was dubious about signing Baby Belle 1 up for dance when the time came around. She looks so much like me and she acts so much like me that I had visions of temper tantrums and sequin studded disasters and—as those of you who have children in dance can breathlessly attest—that shit is too expensive to “take a chance” on.
Well, we dropped the money on the shoes and the tights and the leotards and the registration fees and the monthly tuition and the costume fees and the recital fees and...she liked it! Woo hoo! I was so in awe of the fact that I had a child who enjoyed dance—and apparently could dance—that I actually sat in on several lessons just so I could stare at her in awe.
When recital time rolled around, I was just the biggest fool you’ve ever seen. I sat there in the audience watching a beautiful ballerina and I couldn’t believe that she was related to me. She actually stepped to the left when the other dancers stepped to the left and she dipped when the rest of the dancers dipped! She had timing! She had rhythm! She must have gotten it from her father.
Baby Belle 1 will be starting her fourth year of dance this fall and she’s not showing any signs of letting up. She has mentioned adding gymnastics to her repertoire and that makes my blood run cold. I was more sports-oriented in my youth and I would have benefitted greatly from a patient rewards card with my orthopedic surgeon.
Now it’s time for Baby Belle 2 to take the stage. There’s no doubt in my mind that she wants to do it, if for no other reason than it will open up a whole new world of shoes to her hot little toddler hands. She sat in rapt attention at her sister’s dance recital this year when most of her contemporaries were running up and down the aisles in desperate bids to release pent-up energy.
I’m not worried about rhythm and grace when it comes to Baby Belle 2. No, the only thing that worries me about her is that she’s a maverick and she is going to do her own thing. Yes, the rest of the dancers are stepping to the right, but that might not work for my daughter. As a matter of fact, keeping in step with the rest of the dancers will make it harder for folks to see her. Accordingly, if she goes to the left when the other dancers step to the right, she can stand out. She’s not going to fall in line with The Man, dude!
I can’t even think about cotillion.