Friday, April 23, 2010

TuTu Frustrated--a Mother's Plie

I’m trying, desperately, to get my daughter into ballet lessons and I can’t seem to do it. I like to think I’m a pretty resourceful person, yet it seems I’ve encountered the impossible task. None of the ballet studios will even call me back. They won’t return my emails, either. They refuse to communicate with me at all. Every one of them! It’s like trying to get a response from a literary agent and I’m—but I digress.

I mean, is this any way to run a business? I guess it can work for you if you’re an airline, but a ballet studio? And aren’t we supposed to be in the midst of a bad recession here? Everyone I know has been making cutbacks and it would seem like there might be one or two openings in a ballet class for one tiny little eleven year-old girl. Or maybe that’s the problem. Maybe they don’t want girls who are just starting ballet at the age of eleven, because as everyone knows, if you haven’t been in your toe shoes since the age of four, your ballet career is already over.

But I don’t want to make my daughter into a career ballerina. Frankly, I have greater expectations for her. Perhaps this is the problem. Perhaps people who become career ballerinas are inherently disorganized. Or uncommunicative. Or have borderline Anthropophobia, which prevents them from intentionally coming into contact with people who aren’t wearing pink tights.

I wonder if there are lines of little ballerinas all up and down and around the block waiting for these precious slots in ballet classes and somehow I’ve just missed them. Do I need to get up at 3 a.m. and wait outside a ballet studio with my tutu, sleeping bag and hibachi, because if that’s the case, I think I’d rather just have a flat screen TV.

Wait a minute. I just got an idea of what could really be going on here. Having just adopted my daughter last year, I’m new to the world of raising girls. There’s a secret handshake, isn’t there? Some sort of code maybe? I’m supposed to say something in my voicemail messages or type something into my emails that will let these dance people know I’m part of the “in” crowd of girl moms and that it’s okay for them to talk to me. That’s it, isn’t it?

Okay, I realize there probably isn’t a secret decoder ring involved in getting my daughter into ballet lessons, but I would like to give a child who’s never had a ballet lesson, ever, the opportunity to try it. A Russian child. This is her heritage, for crying out loud. The hardest part about all this is, I don’t know what to tell my daughter anymore. It’s been weeks. She has to be wondering why her mother can’t seem to find someone in this big city to teach her ballet. Her friends go to lessons (or so they say. I am beginning to wonder.) But getting Tatyana into a ballet class is proving harder than moving a fifty-foot telephone pole. I only hope it turns out as well. (If you may recall, I moved the pole.) But for some reason, I can’t seem to move these ballet studio people to call or email me back. To communicate with me, period. If they don’t have any openings, can’t they call to say they don’t have any openings? I’m not asking them to make an exception for us, but to simply do the human, civilized thing: respond to me.

I’m starting to feel invisible and not in a good super-power way but in a bad--uh,hang on. The phone is ringing. I’m not kidding you. Right in the middle of writing my ballet lesson manifesto, the new ballet studio I called for the first time yesterday called me back. Within 24 hours no less. She even apologized for not getting back to me yesterday. They’re not taking any new students right now, not until after the Big Spring Performance. Classes start again this summer, the nice dance lady says. She will mail me a brochure and I can pick the time and days.

I’m so happy, I do a pirouette! And put my tutu, sleeping bag and hibachi away.

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