Style

We had a new girl in class on Saturday. As always, I never know anyone’s real name, only what U. dubs them. This one she kept calling "Beyoncé," which was totally fitting, because she was gorgeous. She was dressed a little more gorgeously than the rest of us, too, but it looked great — big hair, big earrings and a jazzy bodysuit with big cut-outs in the back. For some reason, it didn’t look too blingy for ballet… it looked like we were guesting somebody from the Alvin Ailey school.

She and U. and Snow White must have had a relationship from Expressions, for when Snow White came in, U. stopped and pointed her out to her, waiting for a reaction. Snow White was satisfyingly freaked out, and asked Beyoncé how old she was. Beyoncé must have been only 8 or 9 when Snow White apparently was "teaching her"??? Beyoncé is now 16 and, it turns out, Snow White is 23. Seeing B. made Snow White "feel so old."

I said, "23! You’re about as old as a minute!" or something to that effect.

Everyone laughed but mainly we were all glad for the interruption and rushed to our drinks.

I started ballet late (18, after an aborted attempt at age 5), but not as late as Zelda Fitzgerald, the celebrated flapper, did (28).

However, she "got" in less than three years what took me at least 25:
 

     Miles and miles of pas de bourrée, her toes picking the floor like the beaks of many feeding hens, and after ten thousand miles you got to advance without shaking your breasts. Arienne smelled of wet wool. Over and over she tried. Her ankles turned; her comprehension moved faster than her feet and threw her out of balance. She invented a trick: you must pull with your spirit against the forward motions of the body, and that gave you the tenebrous dignity and economy of effort known as styIe.
     "But you are a bête, an impossible!" screeched Arienne. "You wish to understand it before you can do it."
     Alabama finally taught herself what it felt like to move the upper part of her body along as if it were a bust on wheels. Her pas de bourrée progressed like a flying bird. She could hardly keep from holding her breath when she did it.
— Zelda Fitzgerald, Save Me the Waltz
 
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