15 July 2011

The Melancholy Swan has moved!

The Melancholy Swan has found a new home at melancholyswan.com
Please update your bookmarks! I'd miss you if I lost you!

07 July 2011

In which the Melancholy Swan encounters a snotty teenage cygnet

Tuesday evening the Melancholy Swan arrived at the Academy as usual for the adult class. Generally the adolescent cygnets ignore me, either chatting in a bevy of their peers or the siren call of their smartphones. But this time, I was noticed, and a blonde of perhaps 14 or 15 years old looked me up and down. The contempt in her gaze was palpable "OMG. Are you kidding me?" as she turns away and starts whispering to her friends. I kept walking and when I turned back to look at her, one of her friends poked her that I was looking, giving the impression that I had been under discussion.

I've been heavy for most of my adult life and as I've gotten older I decided to stop worrying about the skinny girls at the gym or in yoga class (and I was taking yoga in Sherman Oaks, CA with lots of beautiful people) and focus on my work. I stopped wearing sleeved shirts when it was 95 degrees in the studio and discovered that cute guys at the gym actually encourage big girls working out.  But the biggest realization came when it dawned on me that no one was looking at me. They were focused on what they were doing, not on me.

The same thing happened when I started ballet. I was nervous and did end up being the largest one in the class, but nobody cared but me. Only one person was passing judgement on how I looked. Me. And I can be quite the mean girl to myself. So imagine my surprise when a bitchy teenager gave the snotty eye to a 40 year old woman! It's like having a kitten hiss at you. They're so cute when they try to be tough!

If I had been younger, I would have been hurt and humiliated. Now I'm just a bit confused why she would even bother. Besides, the little bitch wasn't that pretty anyway.

03 July 2011

In which the Melancholy Swan wrangles cygnets

Thursday last your Melancholy Swan waded into dangerous waters. I entered a studio populated with four and five year old little girls in tutu dresses there for the Intro to Ballet class. While doting parents and grandparents watched through the window, they jumped, spun and wiggled. While the little savages lifted their skirts and bounced from one side of the studio to the other, the tiny shy ones would hold my hand and babble on about something I couldn't understand. My task was to keep them all together in an orderly line and encourage them to follow Doris (my teacher.) They were adorable. They were spirited. They reminded me why I never wanted children. I watched with great relief as the baby swans returned to their families.

They next class was Ballet 3/4 which was made up of older girls ranging from eight to twelve. The older dancers got most of the attention. Unfortunately Doris does not have a lot of patience for smaller children and less adept students. One smaller girl couldn't follow along very well and when a new student arrived, I was asked to coach them. The first girl positively blossomed under individual attention (and some encouragement.) By the end my girls were happy and doing well. It was a nice feeling.

While the Melancholy Swan is fully aware that she really has no business teaching anyone anything about ballet, I think I at least gave the stragglers some needed encouragement. I was once the little girl struggling to keep up in class, unable to remember the steps. Now I'm an adult in the same position.*

Well behaved ballerinas (Not my class)
photo by Katy Batdorff

*I learned that I have a minor non-verbal learning disability, which is apparently why I was so clumsy as a child and have trouble learning ballet combinations now. I'm working to learn all the names for the steps so I can match the words to the movement and remember them that way.