We’ve always had mothers (and occasionally fathers and grandmothers) sitting on the chairs at the back during class, surrounded by piles of students’ clothes and bags.
The space for this is very small now in the new Sky Lizard Centre — and it’s a very odd little alcove, with a set of six stairs going up to a door that’s about three feet up from the floor, and which opens to the outdoors (although there’s nothing out there but a rickety fire escape and a view of a deep construction pit) and which we prop open in the summer for the breeze. This alcove also has a door to a little cobwebby furnace closet, where we sometimes keep costumes by hanging them over the mops and brooms and where people sometimes change if the washrooms are full. The alcove with all these doors and stairs is smaller than a parking space, but it’s jammed with at least eight chairs and a large cabinet on wheels.
The mothers try to find a half-seat among the clothes and bags on the chairs and the floor and the billows of coats hanging on pegs just above the chairs.
There is always a little close-quartered hubbub there at the back between classes — some people dressing, some undressing, all carefully picking their way around each other and the seated mothers in a very small space. The mothers anxiously avoid sitting on anything someone is trying to retrieve or blocking a path to someone’s bag. They’re so nice.
I was inadvertently mothered a few weeks ago. I came in late (as usual) and flung my clothes onto an available chair corner, so late I just stripped my jeans off inside out and heaved them.
After the class I came back to find that they had been turned right-side out and folded neatly over the rest of my stuff by Julietta’s (formerly "Ch."’s) mother. She’s 10 years my junior, but I felt mothered.
A really weird thing about the gang at the back, though, has been the appearance for about the last month of a woman who was very familiar to me but I couldn’t place. She looked the most like LR, the old graduate secretary in English, but I couldn’t believe it would ever be L. This person was a student, one of the ones who hang around for a while after their own class and
clog the dressing area watch the next class and socialize with the mothers and students. L. would never take ballet! She was too laid back, too suspicious of artsy people.
I finally asked her and, of course, it was LR — and, yes, she’s taken ballet all her life and with all the same teachers as I did. We just somehow crisscrossed through the same schools for 30 years without seeing each other. Verrah weird.
First image: From Bebe Miller’s Necessary Beauty
Third image: Maezm Design, Re_love / clothes