At the Ballet

Art, Indulge

One of my favourite indulgences is a love I’ve nurtured since childhood. It’s the old ‘I’ve been dancing since I could walk’ story. It was an unlikely way to tame a child, through a disciplined art form, who routinely had to be called back to sit in a circle with the other little girls because we were done ‘pretending to be fairies.’ Thank you, Miss Linda, for your patience.

The other story is that I was taken to play rehearsals with my director/actor mother, in a basket; discreetly tucked into an auditorium seat, to be minded by cast members who weren’t on stage, while the performance took shape. Most of this I don’t remember, except some standout moments of watching Mr. Mistopholes, in Cats, as performed by one of these former nurse-maids, or listening to cassette tapes of lines my mother was rehearsing, then repeating them back to her years later, wondering why these things were seared into my memory.

What happens when we grow up? There is very little time left to be a fairy, and reality television has made it clear that plenty of people out there have got not only the talent, but the drive to pursue these theatre and dance dreams all the way to their ends.

My mother and father have retired in Niagara-on-the-lake, so I get to see lots of amazing theatre at The Shaw Festival, but after years spent dancing, I was really missing it in my adult life.

As for dance, in university, I found ways to keep in as a part of real life, and to extend beyond my own skills by using our charitable donations as a way to visit that world a few times a year.

Dancing with PushPULL, a company for adults with other careers, keeps me busy twice a week and gets me back on the stage for a yearly stretch of performances. Its always fun to watch people’s reactions when I tell them about my Adult Dance Recital; careful  which words you emphasize, otherwise they expect pole dancing and pasties. If you have some long-estranged passion for something you used to do in your younger years, find some way to bring it back, full circle, into your life. It is one hundred percent worth the time investment.

As for the financial investment, seeing live dance is a little trickier, given than our budget is tight, with home renovation projects, broken appliances, car payments, a wedding less than a year ago and a family in the making. IMG_3436However, my wife came home with the brilliant idea of turning our donations into face time at the ballet. We determined how much we could afford and became donors in support of the National Ballet of Canada.

One of the perks of being a donor is that we can attend talks and several dress-rehearsals during their season, the best of both worlds: contributing and experiencing dance. It’s our date night, usually preceded by a dinner near the theatre and a car ride home to discuss the performance.

Next up, perhaps we’ll check out the orchestra or opera. Where do you put your money-where-your-mouth-is?


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