Dancing Mom

by Lindsay Gallagher on 01/25/2013

In December I took my first ballet class in 25 years.  I know, it’s a shocking number.  Mind boggling, really, but true.  A couple of months before that, I started getting into ballet-shape in Marat’s Stretch and Conditioning class.  Marat Daukeyev is the director of Tess’s ballet school.  He was a principal dancer with the Kirov Ballet.  The class is so hard for me that I always think at least one time during the hour and a half that I will pass-out, throw-up or never walk again.  But if Marat tells me to keep stretching, I stretch.  “It’s good,” he says as he pulls my leg over my head.  “You do it. See.”

All that toe pointing and turning out and knee straightening feels delicious after fighting the impulse for so many years.  Sports just don’t call for straight knees or an arched back.  “There are no plies in tennis,” I have often been scolded by tennis pros.  Not to mention: “Bend your knees!”  And:  “No lunging.”

After several stretch classes I started daring myself to attempt a real ballet class.  I’ve been watching Tess and the other girls for years – could I tendu?  Could I jete?   In December, my curiosity–and masochism–got me into a pair of ballet slippers.

“I’m going to take Vartan’s barre while you’re in class,” I told Tess one day.  “Is that okay?”

“I think it’s awesome.  Now I won’t just have a dance mom, I’ll have a dance mom.”

Awe.  So nice.  But what will she think when she sees me struggling at the barre??

And struggle I did.  It was alarmingly hard and terrifying too, like a snowboarding down a double black diamond.  Kicking and pointing and turning and balancing — wild ride.

“I didn’t embarrass you?” I asked Tess.  I’m sure I embarrassed several of the girls who looked in on me — what is Tess’s mom doing in tights???   I was mortified for Tess.

“No,” she said, “I thought you looked good.”

God bless her!

It’s been over a month, and I’m soldiering on.  Not sure why really.   I’m compelled to keep trying, no matter how silly I look, right there in the middle of Tess’s dance studio, with a messy pony tail – God forbid – and a goof ball smile on my exhausted face.  Tess showed up mid-class again today.

“You can learn a lot from watching all of my mistakes,” I said to her after I bowed to beloved Miss Hasmik who has been teaching Tess since she was five and teaches the Thursday night adult class.

“Yes, I sure can,” she said, “No offense.”

None taken.



There are 7 comments in this article:

  1. 01/25/2013Jordan says:

    Good for you, Lindsay! I think it’s important for us to continue doing things that scare us, or that may not seem “right.” Glad you like and let us know when we can come to your recital ;)

  2. 01/25/2013Lindsay Gallagher says:

    Btw, I love your blog. At this very moment I’m working on perfecting my rye Old Fashioned!

  3. 01/25/2013Christina Simon says:

    It reminds me of taking up tennis for the first time 5 years ago. Even though you danced previously, it still is really hard, but so worth it. Very inspiring piece!

  4. 01/25/2013Walter Jamieson Jr says:

    Beautifully written very charming story. I think you’re both fabulous.

  5. 01/26/2013Bessie Jamieson says:

    Wow, I’m impressed. Sounds hard but fulfilling, and the blog was great!

  6. 01/26/2013Gina says:

    So inspiring, Lindsay! I love that your daughter is encouraging you as well and isn’t embarrassed in the least. Thanks for the post!

  7. 04/6/2013Jesica Davis says:

    So happy for you. What an adventure to be at the barre again. I think I tried once when Ashton was a baby and I NEVER returned. It was mortifyingly PAINFUL! Ow, did my butt hurt. But the music!!!! I hope you’re keeping it up. Much love, Jes

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