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

Cocktail Hour

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!

10 comments:

Special said...

Get your pumpkins here! Get 'em now, while they're not rot! ha ha, so funny.

Herman Munster said...

A former girlfriend of mine studied ballet. But, as a single mom, she made more money to feed her kid as a stripper.

Mikhail Barishnikov said...

I've always enjoyed Marlboro Lights.

Henrik Ibsen said...

Halloween reading assignment: "When We Dead Awaken."

Sheila said...

I always wanted to be a ballerina. They are so beautiful. I was to curvy and woman like though, even as a girl and so I could not. I also didn't like the idea of being told when and what I could eat. Heaven help the person who tries to tell me what I can eat!

Bobby "Boris" Pickett said...

"Whatever happened to my Transylvania Twist?"

AP said...

Michelle, thank you for the V-shaped, cocktail mixer mime photo. Would you be so kind as to mix/mime me a "Something to do in bed" drink? If it's not too much to ask?
By the way, I'm leaving instructions to have half of my cremated remains spread over your computer keyboard and the other half dumped into the Milky River. Cheers!

Paul said...

Cajun Queen, O Mighty One you're making it mighty hard to get to the words. Seriously too dancing on graves gives me the willies. Rock on Foxy Lady Detroit Tigers R2 C2!

r's musings said...

I took ballet and toe classes for a number of years, modern jazz was my favorite, though. I dreamed of being a dancer on Broadway...I'm still dreaming...lol --Robin

JR's Thumbprints said...

I never could dance and often refused to. Polkas were the worst. Disco second. When I got older, I discovered that alcohol improved my ability to dance.