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  • Elise Abbate


How could something that means “ease” and “leisure” be anything but that? In fact, everything until now was easy compared to this. Pinning messy hair into a neat knot in a 50 mile per hour moving car with the windows down? Easy. Squeezing blisters and bruises into tight pointe shoes? Effortless. Remembering to point our toes, straighten our backs, and turn our heads all at once while also remaining on time with the music and coordinated with one another during any other part of class? Simple. All of that was easier than what he’s asking us to do now. He doesn’t even have to announce it. Eyes roll at the mere sound of slow piano tones. We can already feel the tortuous stretch and tighten of a hamstring as our legs reach into the sky…and have to stay there for 8 whole murderous counts. Before he can finish explaining our despicable task, one of us, the chosen one on this Monday evening, gets reluctant permission to “use the bathroom.” She escapes, scampering across the bright marley floor and out of the mirror’s eye into the carpeted softly-lit hallway, just before we start the dreaded combination. All of us stand there, and watch our comrade flee, leaving us behind while we agonizingly move our arms, mocking the movement that our cynical teacher has presented to us, with a smile. It’s not that he enjoys our misery… well maybe he does, but more than that he knows it’s constructive misery. Actually, even he used to hate it. But, he knows that if we want to float like Giselle or fly like Odette, we’ll endure, accept and eventually, appreciate the dreaded 64 counts, right and left, every single class. However, until then, we’ll all let out a collective sigh and harbor a hatred for every développé ever, when we hear the word… 



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