Writing my mother's eulogy has brought to the forefront years of memories. And as I tend to close off and batten down in real life you lot will have to put up with being bombarded.
I watched Uptown Girls today. The final scene where the little girl, Ray, dances to Molly's song remonded me of my dance classes as a child. Yes, the totally cool, uber trendy Madmother once danced in a pale white tutu. And a kilt, but we'll leave that one alone for a while, m'kay?
Back to ballet. I studied for two years and each year completed my exams. I came first in Scholars, managed an honours mark and even beat the teacher's daughter in the testing (nah nah nah nahna - yes I know it should be ner). But I was never given the lead roles in the end of year production, or even in the smaller recitals during the year. Nooo - that went to the daughter didn't it. So, my only chance to shine in front of the families and other girls was during the solo during examinations. Me being, well... me, I took the opportunity and ran with it.
The competition was fierce (between the kids too). Mothers sat glaring at any other whose daughter was considered a threat.
We had learnt a little dance called The Butterfly. It was a light, happy little fluttery piece. You had to try to catch an invisible creature performing little jumps and turns, twists and poses. Positions. At the end you caught the butterfly between your cupped hands, smiled at it beautifically and set it free. Well, that is what all the others did whilst holding leg straight, toe pointed, fixed in position. My beautiful mother sat serenely waiting as I was the last to perform.
I executed it perfectly, not an error, broad smile splitting my face, but in my unique junior Madmother fashion I decided to add a bit to liven it up. Jump, twist, catch, release smile. Hold position... music ceases. I then do another small series of leaps chasing the invisible insect once more, but as I grab it in my palms I crush the pretend butterfly. Look aghast, open hands, change look to disgust, shake and wipe remnants of invisible bug on tutu.
Class in hysterics, a gaggle of giggling girls. Teacher frowning. Other mothers horrified. And my tall, elegant mother standing, clapping madly. Oh, she loved me. Always. Unconditionally.
I quit ballet the next year. I came second and that just wasn't acceptable to six year old me.
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