14 September 2008
One look at Zac Posen's fall 2008 (yes, I know I'm a whole season behind, forgive me) collection and I felt as if I had stumbled upon an album of snapshots from my old dance recitals. The slick and severe bun, the quirky headpiece, the bright red lipstick, the way our skin looked ashen against the bright lights, and of course, the sometimes gaudy costumes paired with tights we'd try not to get ladders in before showtime.
Even though I'm not entirely sold on all of Zac Posen's collection (especially the looks where the materials were a little too see-through for liking), I am definitely gathering some dance recital and ballet inspiration for this fall and winter.
My mother was a dancer for over 30 years, and her mother dreamed of being a ballerina her whole life, though, due to the Great Depression, she only ever saw her dreams come to fruition through my mother, my sister, and then because it was too late to break the cycle, through me.
I started taking dance lessons at age 3, and by age 6 classes were serious and classical training. We may have been barely school age, but there was no talking, no laughing, no smiling, no fun to be had during class. Only rigorous, precise work.
On the days ballet came, I would have to leave my reckless spirit in the wilderness where it grew, and take the long drive into the city. But as much as I disliked wrestling my long limbs into tights and leotards that clung to you like shrink wrap, and coaxing my tangled mane into a required, proper bun, I do have somewhat fond memories of wintry evenings coming home from ballet.
I remember so much, exiting the studio after class, the shock of cold air both cutting and a momentary welcome relief to my skin that was still glimmering with beads of sweat. With our mother in between us, my sister and I would glide down the sidewalks, invisible in darkness, then illuminated by the milky glow of the streetlights that were staggered down the sidewalk.
I would soon be snuggling into my coat, With my tight-clad legs susceptible to chills and goose bumps, and walking with my mother and sister in a sort of mobile hug, in efforts to keep warm. We sort of hobbled that way until we found our car, then hunkered down in our seats until heat could be emitted from the car vents.
My mind was always on dinner, my stomach empty, and mouth watering for whatever would be served that night. Even if it was the same meal we'd had for weeks, on account of being short on money (the lessons would have never been feasible for my sister or I, except that my grandmother footed all the costs).
I was trained in classical ballet, as well as little tap dance, for 7 years until the age of 10, when my grandmother had passed on and I felt I could quit without subjecting my grandmother to great disappointment, and even joy, as she loved most to watch my sister and I perform.
However as years have come and gone, I've grown to appreciate ballet and the dance style that I used to shun, all those years ago.
So tell me, are any of you dancers, or have been, or want to be, and do you have any sources of inspiration for dance/ballet style?