Do ballerinas throw bodychecks?
Forgive me if you end up with glitter on your keyboard after reading this column today. The Ad-libbed household spent last weekend at our first dance competition of the spring season, and I’m still trying to clean up.
Seriously, there’s glitter everywhere. It’s in the bathroom; it’s on the doorknobs; it’s in the car. Even the dog sparkles. Every room in our house looks like it’s been sprinkled with a light dusting of Tinkerbell poo.
But it can’t be helped. If you’ve ever seen a ballerina up close on a performance day, you know that glitter is a necessary part of every costume. It’s the frosting on the cake that consists of a two-hundred-dollar dress, a one-hundred-dollar pair of shoes, a thirty-dollar pair of tights specially designed to rip the moment they touch human skin, and enough layers of makeup and hair product to guard against accidental exposure to nuclear radiation.
I know what you’re thinking: surely it’s all worth it if the costume helps the dancer place well in the competition, right?
The truth is…I truly have no idea.
Now don’t get me wrong: I love my daughters, and they love to dance, ergo I love to watch them dance. But sometimes they’re performing, and sometimes they’re competing. The competitions are where everything gets hard to figure out.
You see, dance isn’t like other sports, where there’s a brightly-lit time clock, a giant scoreboard, and a referee or two ready to blow a shrill whistle. Instead, a dance competition has an adjudicator – or a panel of them – who sits at the back of the theatre with a pencil and a tiny desk lamp and somehow decides whether to give the gold medal to the trio in the glittery green dresses portraying the Angst of Summer or to the duo in the glittery blue dresses demonstrating the Existentialism of Sorrow.
I’m sure there’s a system, but I’ve been attending these things for more than a decade and, if there is one, I have yet to figure it out. Short of a dancer disqualifying herself by accidentally pirouetting into the orchestra pit, there’s rarely a clear winner.
Just once, I’d like to see a competition where the winners are easy for the audience to figure out. I say throw all the dancers on stage at the same time and see what happens. Start with a few classical ballerinas on the right, some tap dancers on the left, and some jazz ensembles in the middle. Toss in a few hip hop kids just to see if they’re really as tough as their crooked ball caps suggest.
Body contact would be okay, but there would have to be some rules. No pointe shoes to the face, for example, and no charging battements directly into someone’s blind spot. And it would have to be bare-knuckle only — it should be illegal to shank someone with a sharpened tiaras. However, a well-timed fouetté jeté that simultaneously knocks multiple competitors into the wings would be perfectly acceptable and probably deserving of bonus points.
Oh, and instant disqualification for anyone throwing glitter into another dancer’s eyes. In fact, for the good of the sport, glitter should be banned altogether.
That stupid stuff just gets everywhere.
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