Wednesday, December 21, 2005


"So what I want to know is how a guy who races motercycles and fixes computers got started in ballet."

I'm sitting in the new downtown bistro with my ballet class. We've come here for lunch after our last class and are sipping the Champagne that Susan bought while we wait for our lunches. I'm sitting by Mike, my sometime pas de deux partner. He's probably a bit younger than I am, he's married, has a couple of kids, a house in a small town, and his own business.

"Well," says Mike. "I started out doing martial arts and got into ballet after that."

"Martial arts?" I ask, amazed. "What kind? Tell me!"

Apparently Mike used to do Shaolin martial arts--I think he called it Kung Fu, but I know there is another name for them.

"I started so I could be in tournaments and win trophies. I got really good and started winning every time. I'm very flexible and I guess we Irish guys can take a punch. After a while, I got tired of it. But then I saw a picture of this dancer in the paper who'd been an awesome Sugar Plum Fairy. I cut it out and kept it."

At this point, we all start laughing.

"You did! That was a few years ago" says Suki. For it was Suki, our teacher, of course, who was renowned for dancing the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy in productions of the Nutcracker in our town years ago.

Mike says he loves ballet now because it always gives him new challenges. "I can keep learning it and I know there's always more to learn."

I am grooving on finding another ballet-martial arts connection! I really feel like there are so many similarities and connections between the two besides the fact that I like them both!

Actually, I think with both, there's probably always something new to learn. Anytime you're working with another person--sparring, dancing--there's more to learn. After talking with Mike some more, I gather he feels that way, too, if you look at martial arts in a certain way. But I'm glad he decided to try ballet. I wonder how many other men and women have crossed between those two arts.

No comments: