19 Years in the Making

Got another personal sore point for you: Swan Lake. Swan Lake really grinds my gears.

I was 6, and my mom enrolled me in the pride-swallowing siege that is an early-stage ballet class.

I held my own nicely — I didn’t fall over, I looked adorable in my tutu and leotard, and I smoked the rest of the class in second position. All in all, I was pretty pleased with how things were shaping up.

I got my validation (or so I thought) in the middle of the second week, three days before our final performance of Swan Lake. “Casting” (in quotes because it isn’t really casting when you just tell 13 snot-nosed, ADD six-year-olds where to stand on a wooden platform) took place, and my instructor told every little girl where she should stand during the dance…except me.

I was meant for something much greater than the mere background players.

I, my instructor explained, brow furrowed in what I thought at the time was sheer inability to comprehend the reaches of my talent, was going to be the star of the show, the swan in Swan Lake. I, and I alone, was going to sit in a chair and move my arms in time to the music, gracefully and grandly, while all the other children who weren’t good enough danced around me in a circle.

And that is exactly what I did. I was a bright, shining star, and for 14 years, I rode that glory wave proudly. Never mind that immediately after the show my parents took me home and refused to ever let me dance ballet again. I was a Prima Ballerina, and that was something no one could take away from me.

Until Thanksgiving dinner when I was 22, also known as “The Day My Earth Stood Still.” Someone said something about a ballet they had seen, which triggered my delusions of grandeur. I pointed out to everyone that, yes, they were in the presence of greatness, in the presence of the star of Swan Lake. My parents exchanged quick glances, and then decided it was time to tell me that my entire childhood was a lie.

Apparently, my ballet instructor was concerned that my “lack of rhythm and loud stomping around” would ruin the show, and he wanted to exclude me from the final performance. Apparently, sitting on that chair, waving my arms like a fool was a tactic thought up by my parents to save me the emotional scarring of being removed from the show for suckiness. Kudos on the child-rearing, Mom and Dad– no emotional scarring here, clearly.

Since then, whenever I hear Tchaikovsky or see any little girl in a tutu, I have to pause and forcibly maintain my composure.

This post was so cathartic, and so is this:

Swan Lake (and, for that matter, all children’s ballet classes), you are Meccanized.

Next up: Doggie clothing

  • http://shellysperceptions.blogspot.com/ Shelly

    The swan lake story is hands down my favorite Lindsay Mecca story. Second up is the story about the fever and lack of medical attention from Dr. Mecca. I don’t suggest you meccanize your dad though.

  • Bryan

    So are you posting this to youtube or what?

  • Justin

    You asshat.

  • Lauren

    Luckily, this triggered your appreciation of alternative forms of dance, which led to the invention of “ridging,” an avant-garde form of transcendental movement that took the East Coast by storm in 1998.

  • Sarah

    haha yesssss and if swan lake is meccanized does that mean curly scrotes are soon to come?

  • Rachel

    Did you write about this in college admissions essays as the most defining/tragic moment of your childhood?

    We can’t all be early-stage dance class stars like I was. Sorry dude. You should have seen my tap dance performance of Pinocchio.

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