Recital: “I’ll never dance again!” Eighteenth of twenty-six posts in the April 2017 Blogging From A to Z Challenge on the theme “Whispering Chimneys: My Altamont childhood” — where my genealogy journey began. Wish me luck!
My mom started me in dance classes when I was five . I vaguely recall climbing a big flight of stairs to a studio above the Altamont, N.Y., Fire Dept. for my weekly lesson.
My first recital came off pretty well. Sporting a harlequin outfit, I performed as Tweedledee the Clown in a group with a bunch of my little dance-class friends.
My onstage debut was so successful that Mom enrolled me for more classes the following year.
A sunlit storefront studio
These were held in a storefront studio, which I think was on the ground floor of the Altamont Enterprise building.
I remember a wall of mirrors with a long barre and sunlight flooding in through the front windows as my classmates and I practiced our ballet positions and pirouettes.
For my second recital, at age six, I wore a more sophisticated outfit of pink satin with a detachable tulle skirt — and ribbon-tied ballet shoes!
Before my recital, I hammed it up in the side yard at Whispering Chimneys for some photos.
All seemed well up until showtime. But when it was time to leave for the performance I didn’t feel well — at all.
My mom did what mothers do: she put the back of her hand on my forehead. Not feeling a fever, she said I was probably just nervous. I protested, telling her I really didn’t feel well, but she was convinced it was nothing.
That’s when I pulled out all the stops, as children do: “If you make me go to this recital, I’ll never dance again!”
Alas, to no avail — so I got into my little pink tutu and off we went to Schenectady for the show.
After that, my memories are a blur. I recall being onstage and looking out for my parents in the audience during my Mother Goose Ballet number.
Next I remember being in my bedroom in the dark — tossing and turning and feeling a searing pain every time I coughed.
It turned out I had viral pneumonia. Mom told me years later that she had no idea because it came on without a fever.
“I thought you just had stage fright,” she said, and she felt terrible when I ended up being so sick.
My final image is of Mom sitting up all night at the little-kid desk in the corner of my bedroom — reading by my dad’s tiny desk lamp so she’d be nearby if I needed her.
Dance fever takes hold
After that, Mom never again enrolled me in dance class. Yet thanks to her earlier efforts my dance foundation was already set.
Soon enough dance fever replaced the childhood fever she failed to detect — and despite my hasty vow, I kept right on dancing.
Through junior high and high school (I never missed a dance). Through college and young adulthood (the freestyle and disco years). Later when I learned salsa, merengue, and cumbia — and right up to last week when I went swing dancing with friends.
This enjoyable pastime is still a valued part of my life — and I’m grateful to my mom for getting me started all those years ago on the farm.
Up next – Standing up to the school bus bully. Please stop back!
© 2017 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.