Tuesday 19 June 2007

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The Ballet Lesson

© John Sawyer – June 2007

“I can’t believe you sometimes? You know nothing about ballet. I know where these ideas come from. I’m going to ban you from reading The AGE reviews before performances in future. You just persist in pushing forward your ill-considered opinions. I ought to know about ballet, I slaved away in my tutu for 9 years and you’ve been to 2 performances and become the world’s expert on dance all of a sudden.”

Wendy’s tirade was interrupted by Song Lei, a Timorese Asylum Seeker. Wendy or I are always running into him on the street somewhere. He seems to be even more troubled by his demons lately.   “Happy ANZAC Day, Mrs Wendy. Happy ANZAC Day, Mr Wendy”. ANZAC Day was last week.

“How’re you doing Song?”

“Things aren’t too bad Mr Wendy; I’m just going to Casino. Can you give $2?” I slipped him $10 and after more seasonal greetings, he crossed the road to catch the tram to Sin City. We sat silently until our tram arrived.

“But I was disappointed that the corps de ballet didn’t actually seem to be in time. Surely the whole show would have been better if there had been a ballet mistress keeping the beat at rehearsals. 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 ...” I rap it out on the seat in front while Wendy shouts above the beat.

“Your trouble is you live in the past. Don’t you understand that this is a new form of dance performance? That was beautifully choreographed so that each member was doing something different.”

I was incredulous and so was the drunk in the next row who had been woken up by the shouting.

“I would think it is physically impossible to plan a 5 minute dance routine where no 2 blokes in a mob of 20 ever did the same step at the same time. I know they did it because I saw it with my own eyes, but they couldn’t possibly have planned it.”

“Well I’m not talking to you about this again and that’s that”.

I might actually be right.


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