Every night when I put my 4 yr old to bed she now asks for “the real Giselle”. Stop and rewind, this needs explaining. Marla has been watching (over and over again, as she does when she likes a flick) “Barbie in the pink shoes”. It’s a surprisingly fun and original animation movie for anyone with a little Ballet background or knowledge. It mixes actual moves, soundtracks and stories of both Giselle and Swan Lake, plus some typical Barbie limbo, with Mattel syrup galore (read, lots of good vs. evil, purple eyeshadow and size 0 dresses). After a couple of dozen viewing I had a (bright) idea : what about showing her the real thing ?? Having been raised in the world of Ballet (my mom was a hotshot dance critic for the biggest French weekly, and the Paris Opera, my playground from age 4…), it just came back naturally. A few seconds search on uTube and I was back in time, staring at Baryshnikov and Pontois in Giselle’s first act. Wow.
So am I gonna turn into the abusive mom of Nathalie Portman in “Black Swan” ? Gosh I hope not. This character, the frustrated mother who projects her own abandoned hopes and dreams on her child, takes a lot from real life, too. How many artists and athletes have suffered that, as children ? So while I absolutely wish not to *push* her, I’m supportive of her hobby, and find her dedication really cute.
When my kid awes at those professional dancers, does she has any clue of the difficulty, hardship, pain, effort and discipline involved ? None.
It’s hard to fight it because it reminds me of my own childhood. I didn’t dance myself (I was always the horse rider), but I enjoyed ballet, its folklore, fauna and culture, and it sticks to me like a second skin.
2nd row, extreme right. She’s blessed with a fantastic teacher, Jessica Baumann, and I’m grateful for it.