Sunday, November 4, 2007

Dancing Days



Being a child in semi-rural Ireland of the 1950's and 1960's was one sure way of ridding yourself of any high faluting notions that you might be nurturing.

"You want to WHAT?"

Digging the size 5s firmly in, I repeated my request. They indulged my whim and so, it was off to Mrs Legears Irish Dancing School with me. I jigged and reeled my way through complicated steps, intricate formations and garnered cups and medals to line the walls of any decent sized coffin. Mrs. Legear was a formidable woman. You were there for one purpose, and one purpose only. To dance, to learn and to bolster her reputation at the Annual Feis. No talking, no giggling, no tittering as she demonstrated the complicated choreography, like a demented, overblown penguin. For an extremely large lady, she was as light as a fairy on her feet. And she loved to dance. You could see it on her face, ecstatic, as she twirled and skittered, jumped and rocked, jigged and horn-piped across the timber floors of her converted garage. She had no children herself, so she MUST have really loved dancing to endure the hell-in-black pumps that descended, riotously, at her front door every Wednesday afternoon.

Eventually, I got notions. I wanted to be a ballerina. Yes, the ones that get to wear the tutus.

So, back to Mrs. Legears, but this time, on a Tuesday. I did positions and plies and all kinds of complicated ballet things until I thought I had died and gone to heaven. But, I was less than brilliant. Much less. I was way too gangly, all arms and legs. But I did get to wear a tutu. A green one. Accompanied by a severe case of stage fright. My budding ballet career died a natural death.

I still love to dance. In the kitchen, in the garden, in meadows and mountains. At family gatherings, I'm first up and the last to fall. I'll dance with anyone or no-one. I love the freedom of moving to music or even just following the inner echoes. I love the inner release, the exuberance of disappearing within and re-emerging as a bird, a dolphin, an emotion, a life.

Cha-cha anyone?

13 comments:

Voyager said...

Dance on woman! May your feet always have wings.
V.

whimsicalnbrainpan said...

Get down!

Ian Lidster said...

To dance is to live, as the saying goes. I envy those who can 'actually' dance. I'm hopeless, but I periodically try.
I like your blog very much and would like to include you in my blogroll if OK with you.
Oh, and I also happen to love Ireland.

meggie said...

I loved to dance. NOT ballet, which my mother thought I should learn. But ballroom dancing. And occasionally I can be seen bopping a little in supermarkets- much to my granddaughter's shame!

Tanya Brown said...

A marvelous, evocative post. Thank you so much.

sMC said...

anyone who is light and graceful on their feet makes me green with envy. Dance on Rise.
ps I will keep you updated with the number of sleeps left.

Lee said...

I'm very happy to watch (Ah! Ah! Leave it alone...) but not a bone in my body wants to join in.

J Cosmo Newbery said...

"Dancing is a vertical expression of a horizontal desire." - Robert Frost.

Mmmm?

Stomper Girl said...

Well obviously I'm going to agree with you on this one, dancing makes my soul fee happy! I love that your parents still took you off to class despite feeling that dancing was an odd request. Good on them. And did you send your own babies off for dance classes?

Liz said...

The perfect picture to accompany this post would be, of course, you in the green tutu! Unfortunately the dancing gene didn't get passed along this way. I'd like to dance, but look like a flamingo with two left feet.

Princess Banter said...

Dance, my dear girl, like no one else is watching :) Stage fright is all in the head -- but I do know that the "fright" really is in the phrase for a reason so I don't blame ya! Nonetheless, I think that a tutu would look good on you... and a bun :)

riseoutofme said...

voyager ... I hope so!

whim ... O.K. then!

ian ... I would be honoured. And what exactly do you like about this fair land?

meggie .. I love ballroom dancing too! Usually dash in and out of the supemarket as fast as I can ... can't stand the muzak!

Tanya ... thanks!

Birdy ... I DO NOT NEED TO COUNT MY SLEEPS ..... AAGGHH!!!

lee ... you should TRY it!

jcn .... so where does that leave your partner in crime, Mr Kennedy??

stomper ... I knew you'd know what I was talking about!! 2 of the offspring tried stepping it out but alas, didn't stay with it. One took to gymnastics, one to the water, one to the game where 15 male bodies run around like demented bluebottles chasing a funny, shaped ball and the last one took to the couch!

liz ... unfortunately, no photographic evidence remains of the green tutu phenomenon! And you should give it a go ... doesn't matter what you look like ... its how it makes you feel!

princess .... ME in a tutu AND a bun???? Do you want me to get locked up?

Molly said...

What a chasm six years is when you're young! Never knew that you too had been subjected to the bould Mrs. LeGear! The torture of it all. I used to die of embarrassment pounding the floors of said converted garage! Maybe the parents were disillusioned at how the first-born reacted to dance lessons, and that's why you had to beg? I have no memory of you in a green tutu---sob! I DO have a memory of Liz in a pink one though. It would be worth a few hours of digging if I could find it!