It’s the anticipation before the class, ice skating, dancing, teaching, it doesn’t matter what. You’ve spent up to, maybe even more than an hour perfecting makeup to look presentable and hair to make sure it doesn’t impede your vision. You’ve changed into what many others would consider very uncomfortable: lined tights to ward off the cold, or just ballet pink tights, leotard, jacket. Body hugging, tight, bearing all. Your hair slicked into a tight pony tail or flattened bun. Regardless of how long it is, it mustn’t be in the way! Hair spray and pins are a dancer’s best friend.
Then the shoes. The most important part. Fur-lined boots laced to the ankle with lycra covers, plastic guards to keep the blades sharp. Soft leather slippers more comfortable than any other shoe. Hard and beautiful Pointe shoes, silky to the touch, hiding gel covered toes behind beautiful ribbons supporting the ankle. Stylish Latin or ballroom heels, creating a sleek line, matching outfits. Black, strapped taps, the most satisfying of them all, clipping and rapping away as you desire.
You may glide and spin, performing mohawks and spirals. Practise your turn out, point hard, fourth position, prepare, rise and turn. One, two, cha cha cha, three, four, turn. Heel slap step heel, heel slap step heel, ripple, ripple, double toe hit stamp. Beautiful moves that transform your body into a part of the music. You become the crotchets, minims, the cello, piano and flute. You flit and float from one side of the room to the other, rumba over the dance floor attached to your partner, and tango as one around the stage. Shuffle tap step into the spotlight and chasse towards the audience.
After the show, practise, class, you take your hair down, pins in one hand, net in the other. Jacket back on to keep you warm as you prepare to go home. Peel your feet out of your boots, slippers, shoes or heels. Bruised, sometimes bleeding, blisters. But it’s all worth it, right?