Alvah has a new ballet teacher
"I am quitting!!! Dad i can't do it anymore. The others are mean. Calling me names. And i just get angry and dissapoint everyone. Because someone will get hurt and it won't be me. But i will get the blame of everything."
Sitting down i cross my arms and won't move. To bad i am short and dad can just lift me up. He carries me with my ballet bag to the car. All the while i glare at him.
Why does he stay so calm... isn't he upset the others are picking on me?
"You just want me gone from home that you are forcing me! You are so mean! Don't you care they are calling me names and being mean?"
With a quivering lip of anger i look at him.
That fatherly look he has appears on his face again.
""They really ripped your heart out, didn't they? There will be worse things in life, dear."
I don't know why but that kind of talk always makes me more angry. He doesn't know that!!!
I hiss between my teeth.
"I hate dancing. I never want to dance again."
And now dad has the audacity to laugh.
We drive to the dance school all the while I have said nothing more. Dad as well has been silent.
He opens my door and gestures to go inside. I already see the other girls of my dance class. They are giggling, pointing and trading glances to me.
Meaningful i look at dad, he again gestures to go inside.
Grabbing my bag i drag my feet inside. Today we are starting a new class. We will have the headmistress of the school. It is said she is mean and hits students with her cane.
It is the same as always the remarks, throwing things, dropping my shoes or clothing in water. So funny.
In class things go well enough. The teacher is strict stern harsh but she is good. It is clear she has a love for dance and alot of experience.
Halfway the class i actually turn a liking to her.
Untill we practice pas de quatre from the swan lake. Since i am one of the smaller dancers i am on one of the sides.
It goes well we are in sync. And then they trip me. This was not me i felt her foot hook my ankle. The high pitched giggles and laughing only pisses me off more.
When getting up i stand hunched over ready to pounce those little bitches.
The cane of the teacher bangs on the floor.
"Again! Fenna keep you feet yourself"
See she saw it even. She is not going to say more.
I am angry, mad, furious!!! It is clearly visible in my dancing she replaces me with Mina. The teacher points to the barre. So i am downgraded to practicing the movements.
Class ended and i want to go change but the teacher calls me.
"Miss Chambers, stay."
I turn and wait. Again a cacophony of annoying giggles. Clenching my fists i just feel the rage build.
A moment of silence, it seems to take ages.
The teacher sits at the piano and plays a little melody. She looks at me, i shrug.
"Miss Chambers. The routine if you please."
I roll my eyes but when she starts playing i do what she asks. My heart is not in it i am so very angry. My movements are harsh and abrupt.
"Stop. Breath, again."
A sigh but i listen. The result is the same.
We do this several more times.
I then just scream and drop on the ground angry tears roll over my cheeks.
The teacher looks at me raised eyebrows.
"Are you done feeling sorry for yourself. Miss. Chambers. "
She walks over to me and taps that cane on the floor again.
"Yes, you are angry and want to act on the emotions. But you are smart enough to know if you do that you ruin your own chances and not theirs. Do you ever listen to your anger, to your rage? It is not harsh and sudden it is like a wave. Flowing graceful and strong. Like a storm picking up. Carrying the fallen leaves around with ease.
Those girls will get what is comming to them. But you need to show that you are in sync with your anger. Use it to carry those girls like the dead weight they are. Use it to drown out their remarks and antics. You my girl are a forxe of nature to be reckoned with."
She walks back to the piano and starts playing
I don't know why but her words reached me. Anger should not control me, it is a part of me... i can use it as naturally as my body takes a breath and use the air.
It is slowly but surely going better and better.
Nigel picked me up the first time and the teacher told him, to tell my father i will take an extra hour class for specialty lessons.
An extra hour? With just her? What new torture is this?
The next day the girls were mean as always but i waited. An extra hour? Was it something she could fix?
After the others left she bid me follow her. Down a hall i must have missed noticing. I can be so distracted sometime. In this new room were no bars, no mirrors. No piano. One wall was filled with bows and arrows. Another with foils, and epees, and sabers. In the corner are staves.
"Position, Miss Chambers."
Taking my pose I wait for instruction. She stands and stares at me. Eventually, "Follow my movements."
The old crone moves gracefully. But her movements are not dance moves. Her flowing hands move left and right, up and down. Tia Chia? I follow dutifully, trying hard to follow her exactly.
Weird. The last few minutes of each of those extra classes, I think minutes, she was weirdest of all. She made me wiggle my fingers and arms, in a hundred different poses. She tells me I could never know what pose a choreographer will ask of me.
The last thing we did each session was to have a cup of tea. She would drill me on ballets. Tell the stories of them. Who wrote them? When, Why? If they made money?
Those extra hours were the oddest things. We seemed to do so much more in that hour. They went by in a kind of blur. I didn't even get angry. Sometimes she would have me handle the swords. Sometimes the bows. She said I never knew what a choreographer might want me to hold in a dance. What ever they gave me I should think of as a weapon.
Once, when we both were working on movements with foils I jokingly said En garde! She turned on me, and lined point up to my eye, a position of guard. A chill ran through my bones of fear like I had never known. Her eyes were not old. Her body not aged. She looked dangerous, deadly, and serious.
How had I missed that? Then the moment passed and she laughed and we had tea early.
I never spoke to anyone about those extra hours.. Not father. Not Reba. Certainly not those mean girls.
We continued this for a while she taught me to feel the music and become one with it in movements. To use my emotions as my strength.
A bit more then a year later she told me that she was going to retire but would be there at my first big ballet performance.
I asked her why I was going to be in it and not the other girls?
Over tea she said, “You are so much like your father was when he was young. So angry. His dancing was all anger too for a time. But I worked it out of him. Why you, you ask, and not the other girls? I will tell you but you must never tell them. Your father is a baseball fan, yes? Part team owner I hear. Let me use an analogy from that sport. A manager has to pick between two players. Both run to first base and have the same time. One has perfect form, the other is clumsy and awkward. Which does he pick? He picks the awkward one because teach him perfect form and he beats the other player every time. You are not awkward, but you are angry. You will use your anger to best those girls. You will use that anger to beat all those that chose to battle with you.”
“Those girls who are mean to you, they don't even know why they are mean to you. But deep in their hearts they know a true thing though their minds would never think it. One day, soon probably, they will discover horses. Or cooking or medicine, or gardening. Probably they will discovery boys. Some will discover girls... And then their time on the floor will be done. They will dance jitterbug, or the Twist, or heaven for fend, the Hustle. But they will never dance ballet again. While you, you will dance on the great stages of the universe. You will go farther east and farther west then any of those girls could possibly imagine. And when you dance, I will know, and I will see, and I will be proud. And we will see each other again.”
When the ballet came she was there and I think she actually was proud of me.
But she was gone before i could speak to her. I guess she was wrong about us seeing each other again. I guess.