Monday, August 31, 2009


I am not in the mood to dig into the confused thoughts I have about my new ballet slippers.

I'm still focused on the Kennedy family, the processionals, the funeral. And today, more than last week, I feel as if I'm Mrs. Nero- fiddling-while-Rome-is-burning.

The shouting war over health, the anti Obama rocks that are being thrown at him. I can't get the war, the rocks out of my mind.

All my pet peeves are peeving me -- ads selling medications that I, the patient, am supposed to suggest to my doctor -- ads mentioning the serious, life-threatening SIDE EFFECTS (grim things on that list that all the drug makers seem to use.) Also ads promoting the female as a sex pot/fool, in too much makeup, in low-cut, too short, too tight (BAWDY BAD TASTE) clothes.

And prices -- everywhere, everywhere, raised for no reason -- am I going to list the offending items?

No. I will focus on my new pink shoes.

In the studio, late last night, after I'd turned off the Kennedy burial, I put on my barre-taking T-shirt and tights.

I put on my new shoes. Boing! Like a loud bell, I realized I haven't been paying attention to POINTING my feet.

(What? That's a sin! Pointing your feet is to ballet dancer, like petting a dog is to a pet owner. It's essential! basic! major!)

My feet have always been a problem for me as a dancer. "Wrong" feet said the doctor my parents consulted when, after my first summer in New York, my Achilles tendons ached so much that I couldn't walk. The doctor x-rayed them, studied them, frowned, and declared, "This child has wrong feet -- these feet won't allow her to do 'toe dancing.'"

Little Em blocked it out. My parent eventually blocked it out because after I rested my feet for six weeks (strapping them with adhesive the way the doctor showed me how to do), the pain vanished. I blocked it out, but never forgot the doomful words.

As a beginner, I used to point hard, point and stretch my poor feet to death. Forcing my insteps to bulge, I found a way to make them look "pointy" -- by digging the toe of the ballet slipper into the floor. (I knew it was bad. "It's wrong technically," said my beloved teacher Margaret Craske, at the Met's Opera Ballet School.)

So of course, last night as soon as I donned my new slippers, I pointed, pointed hard, started stretching my "poor feet to death," forcing the instep to bulge.

Boing, boing -- the loud bell rings.

"Hey, gee --" I'm asking myself -- "Why am I making a big deal over pointing my feet? I am not dancing for an audience! No one sees me other than me when I glance at the mirror, and occasionally JC who doesn't notice my feet -- he loves my concentrated, unbreakable "actress" focus.

Gee, I'm thinking, "Am I going to be worrying about pointing my feet for another year? Two years? Till these shoes wear out? Am I going to be pointing my feet hard till the day I die?"

STOP! ... The country's in mourning, and I'm mourning, and fretting about what ...?

Will I obey my words, my thoughts, my practical, logical nature?

BOING! I don't know.

1 comment:

Carola said...

I remember back in the fifties you were going through a big decision about whether or not to do more ballet and "toe-dancing." I remember the shoes you got, and the fact that Sasha disagreed with your plan. Now why do I remember that - when you think of the billions of things I have forgotten.