Girls gymnastics is bad.
But Ballet is the worst.
Wendy Whelan was a dancer
At NYC Ballet for thirty years.
In the Chorus, Soloist and Principal.
I wouldn’t wish that career path on anyone’s daughter.
I lived in the South End of Boston
Where everyone (almost)
Or a Ballet dancer (or both).
You couldn’t help but date a ballet dancer in Boston.
I asked one girl
how she got to Boston Ballet
And she said
she was known for great balance
And I thought that was the coolest.
(It’s like speed. You can’t teach it.)
This was the mid 90’s
when Wendy Whelan’s
Long Figure was already a decade
on the New York Stage.
This girl was a long one too.
Here’s why Ballet is the worst:
Because you take this group of girls when they are 3
And by the time they are 5
It’s clear who’s the best.
This one is different.
So she practices and competes
for 15 years or so.
And she has roughly always
been the best
In any given group.
She’s trained everyday. Really.
Everyday for 15 years.
And there are 30 of these girls for a call.
At Boston Ballet.
And they line up.
And the director walks down the line.
Saying “Yes,” to a dozen girls.
And the rest go home.
Before they even dance a step.
Wrong body type.
Might just be a hair off.
But you don’t even get to dance.
And that was your shot.
Ballet is the worst
(may as well be a model...
seems like more of a fair shake).
You could pick a ballet dancer out
From across the Boston Commons
Or in a crowd.
I don’t know if it’s still the case,
But at the time
Girls walked as close to first position
as they could.
Very much duck-like.