Tuesday, 25 November 2008

The ballet hell

You can tell I am a woman of aspiration. Because not only am I prepared to suffer Tiger and the horse riding, now I twice-weekly cry in pain at Squirrel with the ballet. This double torture is currently thanks to the Grade 1 exam which requires an extra ballet lesson every week for eight weeks.

What ballet is for, I do not know. I cannot bear it. Many years ago I sat in a posh seat to see the San Francisco ballet troupe all jig along to Swan Lake. No doubt it looked like an extraordinary painting, but the ballet bit I just did not get. And, despite some effort, still don't. It is a lot of thin, wiry women jumping up and down wearing silly clothing. I can jump up and down, not obviously with the bit about being thin, or flexing muscles as strong as road hammers. I tell Squirrel she could do that too, without the unbearable suburban ballet lessons, and I can save the ridiculously large amounts of cash I hand over termly for the privilege of having mug stamped on my forehead, which qualifies me to be fleeced some more for the extra exam lessons, piano rehearsals and hall hire.

What Squirrel is enjoying about the ballet experience, I cannot tell. It would be the sparkly hairgrips and fluffy hairbands so beloved of the coven of ballet mums, only I am too mean to buy her any. And it is not the actual sight of professional ballerinas jumping up and down, because I refuse to let her watch any in case she gets ideas. It could be the fact that both her sisters have declared ballet disgusting and revolting, which probably for Squirrel passes as an endorsement and celebration of her art.

Well for the interim, I am doomed, because the exam is still a week away and there must be this lesson, and this rehearsal, and this additional time, and that practice, because according to Squirrel's ballet teacher Twig, every minute counts.

In all of this miserable woe and prospect of doom I can find only two crumbs of comfort. One is that taking Squirrel to ballet is now, until the end of term, Dig's turn. And the other is that it is not performed outside, in the rain.

This is Squirrel, aged four, in a ballet lesson,
when she was allowed to take in baby lemur and wear skirts we had made ourselves.
Do not say she looks cute. That will only encourage me to keep up her attendance.

9 comments:

HelenHaricot said...

giggle! we had our own ballet woes [where i prob sound like one of your surburban mums] for sb's exam. except they didn't get offered any extra lessons so i [and i am not in any way ballet shaped!] had to learn how to do the sodding ballet steps so we could practice at home. i really hope she passed!!
[i apparently do a passable pas de basque and cifras - but that is according to sb, who is prob a tad biased and hoping i will learn the next grade. i won't, i bought her the rad dvd for xmas.

sharon said...

Well Squirrel certainly looks very enthusiastic running in for her lesson. If she has been 'doing' classes ever since that age then I think you are probably stuck with the sbm coven for the foreseeable future. Puberty may bring a change of direction but not necessarily. I'd love to have a ballet daughter but that's not going to happen now ;-(

I get the impression that you are enjoying having Dig around to act as the Gritlets' personal chauffeur in your stead, I could be wrong of course....

Angela said...

Ohoh - how CUTE she is!!!
Chuckle. Poor Mum, what is it that your third baby has in mind for a happy recreation? Music practicing? Ice-hockey? Bird-watching? Yes, I think you can be thankful for any in-doors activity, even though in case of the recorder-practice you can deeply suffer, too...

Michelle said...

I think I've definitely missed a change in the Grit household. It used to be Shark for horseriding, Tiger for violin and Squirrel for Ballet.

The violin seems to have been quiet recently . . .

Ruth said...

Thank goodness it's not just me! It's possible to ignore the expense and pointlessness except last week was the end of term. I had to sit through 30 painful minutes of little girls prancing around gracelessly and out of time waving their arms. Dd complained that I didn't clap as much as the other mums and I told her that I'm just not going to fake it any more.

Ballet is OK I guess, not that I'd pay to watch it, but what 5 year olds do is NOT ballet. I'm not sure what it is but I can tell you what else it isn't, worth £4.50 per lesson!

There will be tears but I don't think I'm going to be able to stand waiting until dd has had enough. I may just have to put my foot down next year and refuse to pay for it any more.

Mean Mom said...

Many years ago, I saw Giselle performed by the Kirov ballet in Moscow. My friend was enraptured, but I'm sure that she was pretending. I don't see how she could have understood it any better that I did. (She had never had ballet lessons, for example.) I felt terribly guilty, but the performance was totally wasted on me!

Squirrel does look so lovely in her ballet dress, though! If you stop her doing it, she will hold it against you for the rest of her life, of course. Alternatively, if you allow her to carry on with it, she will find something else to hold against you. Heed my warning. ;0)

mamacrow said...

oooo, she is SO CUTE! (sorry. double sorry, i love ballet!)

I have to admit, I am waiting with baited breath to find out what you have to take Shark to do. Lion taiming? pot holing? gutting fish?

Grit said...

NOT CUTE! NOT CUTE!

However, learning how to gut fish is an excellent and practical skill. i may get onto that immediately.

mamacrow said...

gutting fish is fun and easy. skinning a rabbit on the other hand, I know how to do strictly by theory only.