Friday, October 06, 2006
Dancing On My Grave
As a child, I never dreamed of becoming a ballerina, although I loved them, the black leotards and pale pink tights, the toe shoes. I understood even at a young age that I would have had to start a lot earlier, would have had to have been a lot thinner, and been willing to give up almost all of my life even to be in the chorus. As a substitute, I read about ballerinas, my favorite being Gelsey Kirkland, who wrote Dancing On My Grave, about dancing for the famed Mr. B, her romantic involvement with Mikhail Barishinikov, and her struggles with cocaine. One can take from the text that Balanchine and cocaine were the least of her worries and that Mikhail was the grave on which she danced. As for his part, he was chronically unfaithful, cruel, and easily her best dance partner. My crush on Mikhail waned with this new information; when I found out how short he was, it disappeared completely.
I had to take dancing lessons as a part of gymnastics training. These lessons, taught by a beautiful and profoundly kind woman who kept getting death threats at the tiny studio where she taught, lasted a little under an hour and were simple routines to popular songs like "Freeway of Love" or "R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A." We'd finish dancing and the phone would ring, and she'd turn pale. Even with my teenage self-absorbtion in the horrible bit of dancing I had just done (a good day was when I hadn't run into anyone or got separated from the big group for too long), I knew something awful was happening. One day I worked up my courage to ask. She told me that it was a dance partner she'd had long ago, someone who couldn't quite let her go. Don't ever dance with someone you don't love, she said. I filed it under all the other things I would remember, usually when it was too late-- Finish what you start, Don't take what you can't eat, Your eyes are bigger than your stomach. That, I supposed, I had in common with all great ballerinas.
Michelle' Spell of the Day
"I can't help but fall in love with all my partners." Mikhail Barishinikov
Drinking music suggestion: Strange Days, John Prine
Benedictions and Maledictions
Halloween alert: There is an epidemic of pumpkin rot this season and might be a Halloween pumpkin shortage! This crisis should be averted by getting your pumpkins now!