We cannot fly but we can dance!

The moment you figure out the approximate angle of your arms vis a vis your still somewhat stiff body, you begin to realize that you indeed have certain abilities you have not been aware of until then. From now on you cannot simply ignore the fact that you are contained in a body, that you take certain shapes in space and that you have to get used to seeing yourself in the mirror.

Ballet makes me 100% aware of my present body position and what I usually see in the mirror sends disagreeable messages into my brain which is not used to the clumsy fattish appearance of my own existence. Yet no matter how frustrating the images used to be I slowly began to realize that one can actually profit from that sort of self recognition. Forming yourself movement by movement into a neater and more refined image in space (am I getting too far fetched?) gives me a sensation that one day perhaps I will be able elevate my body into the air and ride it, if at least for a few seconds. And it is perhaps this waiting for the moment of flying that makes me endure the discipline of classical ballet, which at least here, where I take my classes, that is in Prague, Czech Republic, is rather strict and sometimes merciless.

It is clear that given my age I will never become a prima ballerina of a grand ballet performance and no one will throw flowers at the stage to show the artistic appreciation for my skills. Yet the notion of being part of the creative process which leads towards the achievement of beauty (in my own eyes) stirs the necessity to perfect all the movements into the purest form of what they should look like. It may not make any sense at all but this is the reason why I want to dance one day, why I want to be able to experience the feeling of being lifted up into the air and carry myself into whatever is there before I touch the ground again. So I wish to know what it is like to fly and therefore I dance.

Gabriela Volfova,
English Teacher,
Prague, Czech Republic, May '97