Friday, June 4, 2010

Dance ~ Part 2

Dance turned a dark corner for me when my ballet teacher told me and my parents that I was too big to be a ballet dancer (previous post). So, when the next school year began, my parents enrolled me in a modern dance class.

Oh joy, I was dancing again. Toward the end of the year, our teacher choreographed "Alice in Wonderland" for us to perform. Oh ecstacy, I got a part in a duet! I was Tweedle Dum and my neighbor, Kathy, was Tweedle Dee. She was very short and pole thin. I was quite a bit taller and much rounder. We had circle skirt costumes.

Performance day came and two things went very wrong. My parents had some sort of concert tickets that evening and so declined to come to my performance. (Baaaaaad Mommy and Daddy!) At least they didn't see our embarassing duet....

For our duet, Kathy and I were to enter from opposite sides of the stage. But somebody had mixed up our costumes. On her side, a helper wrapped my too long skirt around her tiny waist twice and safety pinned it in place. On my side, a helper broke the zipper trying to get her skirt over my shoulders and then tied it around my waist with a cord, which made it so short that it barely covered my crotch.

When we entered, the audience broke into laughter at the sight of our odd, bedraggled-looking costumes. Kathy stood and waited for the laughter to subside. I fled the stage in humiliation. Our dance teacher pushed me back on. The audience laughter increased and again I fled. Meanwhile the music started and Kathy began to dance her part. When Mrs. Kane pushed me on the stage again, I finally figured out where in the choreography we were supposed to be and began to dance.

Although the audience clapped for us, that was the end of dancing for me for a very long time. After that third grade fiasco, I knew, 100%, absolutely I could not be a dancer. I avoided dances and dancing all through my school years. In high school and college, if I went to a dance at all, it was always hugely terrifying and stressful. I'd act out, gossip with the girls, drink (college) and leave early.

I wanted (more than anything!) to dance. I envied the slender, pretty girls dancing close with their boyfriends. I loved the music. My inner body would move, in a way I hoped nobody would notice, to the music. I was trapped in a mind that constantly trumped with one old ballet card and two old modern dance cards.

There's more to discover about me and dance.... next post.


  1. Ohhhh.... that's sad. What a terrible time to mix up the costumes.

    I understand how this stuff sticks with us. Don't make me remember how I wanted to make the Speech Team in the sixth grade....shudder.

  2. Very interesting explorations here. I'm waiting for the one that shows you it's never too late to follow a dream. :)

    My dancing career ended at the age of 5, when I saw the crowd at my first recital. I avoided speaking or performing in public for the next 30 years. And then I got over it and gave small-group presentations and then started moving up, eventually teaching classes and leading workshops. I still get nervous, but I get over it. Because life is just too short not to.

    Capiche? :)

  3. I just got to read all your blog entries that I had missed. I know why people/friends/family seek you out. There are many reasons one being that you are such a great listener & have such wise & loving insights. I know from experience. I love reading your blog. I am learning a lot about you that I didn't know and get inspiration and ideas from what you are writing. It's funny how I do think you need to learn how to say no to people and set boundries, but I don't want to have you do that with's that for selfishness.

  4. My heart goes out to little you:) It is amazing how this clearly still impacts you all these years later. Hugs.

  5. Oh man Robin, You have never told me that story before. My face felt the warmth of shame and embarrassment you must have taken on. I am so sorry your parents did not go, that is so sad. I hope you feel compassion for thast little girl. I sure do. Julie C

  6. Thank you. I got here from your bead blog about 15-20 minutes ago and have been crying as I read through all your posts. I've been working to lose weight for the past couple of years. I've lost 50 lbs & in the last 6 months have regained 15 of it. OA has been suggested to me in the past but I'm not religious and not good in groups & have just ignored the idea. But what you've written has resonated so much for me that I'm thinking maybe I could give it a try.

    I think it's wonderful that you can share your dance story. Hopefully sharing it took away some of the pain from the event. It's funny, for the last year or so I've been thinking about dancing a lot. I've always wanted to learn but figure I'm too fat and would look silly. Maybe not though. . .

    In one of your posts you mentioned feeling overwhelmed with all the demands on your time. I hope you realize how much you've influenced a lot of people. The BJP has changed my life in ways that have nothing to do with beads and I so much appreciate the time you give to it. So now I think I'll see if there's a local OA group and maybe get up the courage to go!

    Thanks again for sharing this. I'll continue to follow your progress. Take care.

  7. It always amazes me how long we hold onto those old hurts and humiliations. Somehow it seems the positive moments of joy and success don't seem to "stick" in the same way, though I can only speak for myself on this.

    My dad was a well-regarded painter while I was growing up, and I was always in that shadow. I didn't really start to gain confidence in myself as an artist until my 40s, and now, here I am, working away at my craft. But sometimes something reminds me of those old hurts, those demons I thought I sent packing, and if I'm not careful, I go into a downward cycle of thought that just carries me along. When that happens, I just say something like, "Oh. I got on the wrong train. I'm getting off and getting on that train over there, which goes where I want to go." Sometimes I visualize doing just that. I'm not sure how this strategy occurred to me, but it almost always works.

    I'm impressed with your great courage and determination, Peacefulbird. This is not an easy journey you've undertaken, but I know that whatever happens along the way, you will ultimately triumph. Thank you for sharing this.

    Also, thank you for sharing the World Prayer site. It is absolutely wonderful and uplifting!

  8. I'm going to save a great big hug for that little girl and give it to you the next time we can meet.


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