Told my ballet teacher no.
Ok I’d like to be able to say it was a loud and firm You’re-not-the-boss-of-me style no. But no. It was more of the timid no-if-that’s-ok?-with-you sort.
Ok, see, we’re in class, and he’s really pushing me for the first time since The Sprain. He’s all, “it’s been five weeks, it’s time to work.”
And I’m like, “yes!”
And he’s like, you are feeling better? You are ready to begin to work again?
and I’m, “yes!”
And he’s like, you may feel some soreness, you may need to ice your ankle after class, but this is normal, your tendons have shortened from under-use, you must begin to use them again, lengthen them.
And I’m like, “yes!”
And we begin barre, and instead of calling out to me to stay in demi plié, he’s telling me don’t baby the right, make it work now.
And we get to center and we do some sissóns and it’s the first time my toes have left the ground at the same time in weeks. And they’re barely leaving the ground, but still, five weeks, it feels great. And he’s calling out “Good. Now close fifth. Solid! More solid! Both heels press the floor! Hard! No favoring!”
And then we get to that one combination of changement, changement, changement, eschappé to second; changement, changement, changement, tour sauté.
Last few weeks I’ve been stepping back to the barre to do low relevés during this combination. This time I stay in center and substitute a (low) eschappé for the tour.
“No, my dear! You didn’t go around! Why didn’t you go around? Jump straight up and go all the way around!”
My jaw kind of falls open and I say, “But I, um, no, I don’t think…?” and he jumps right in with, “yes! You can do this! You must work now!”
And I’m horrified. I mean, Gentle Reader, I was already a little afraid of this jump. Before The Sprain.
You jump up from both feet, use your arms to whirl you through the air in a full circle like a corkscrew, and land on both feet exactly where you took off.
It’s fun and exciting but I never really fully got the hang of it, not consistently at least, and it involves twirling, and landing, and you can’t watch yourself in the mirror so you can’t guide yourself you just have to do it-
and mostly I’m horrified because I have to say,
“um, no, I um really don’t? think I’m ready for this? Yet?”
And while I’m freaking out about what he will say next and will I have to say no again and maybe muster up a little backbone this time when Lé Assistant busts up in there with, ‘Old Man! You leave her be! Almost no one in this class lands this jump right, even with two good ankles!’
So he concedes.
And I’m super relieved.
And then later I think, holy crap, I just told an old Russian ballet master No. In the wussiest way possible, but dang, I kinda did it.