Each class was held in formal fashion. Miss Rosalind taught a silent group—black leotards and white ballet shoes. Miss Wright, her pianist would play, but never said a word. Parents could come in and sit, provided they were well behaved.
Every plié was made and held until Miss Rosalind had checked it. Every arm was adjusted until its placement was perfect.
“Lead with the wrist. Point your toes. Concentrate.” These were words she often said. She said them even more when the year came that our class was ready to go on pointe. That year we’d earn our toe shoes—real ballerina shoes.
“You will not buy them,” Miss Rosalind mandated, “until you have permission.” That year our class of girls learned what it meant to earn something. Week after week we’d do our workout at the barré, then on the floor. Then at the end of class, one maybe two would be told “Tell your mother she may buy your shoes, but to bring them here.” No purchase was final until Miss Rosalind checked the fit.
The process made the rest of us work even harder every week. There seemed to be no logic to which girl she would choose next. We watched. We wondered and we saw. It wasn’t necessarily the best, the brightest, or the one who worked the hardest. She may have chosen randomly to totally confuse us.
When my day came. “Tell your mother,” is all she said.
That was my first experience with bliss. I wondered why people on the street couldn’t see this change in me. I would now be the owner of real ballerina shoes.
My mother took me to the store where they sold the precious shoes. The salesman, as he fitted me, asked what color we thought we wanted. I told him pink.
“Oh you’re one of Rosalind’s students,” he quickly said “She’s the best. You worked hard for these I’d bet.”
“Yes, sir, I did.” was all I said. That night I asked if I could sleep with them.
Before the next class, Miss Rosalind made sure the shoes fit properly. Then I got to dance at last in my own ballerina shoes. It wasn’t as easy as it looked. No one had warned me that they would hurt or that they take some practice.
I’d worked so hard to earn my first pair of real dancing shoes.
I’d have to work even harder just to use them.
—me strauss Letting me be
See the beautiful fractal art callded Dance with Me at Decadent Tranqulity that Tree did about this story.