By Jackie Weber
Week Two At The USF Dance Department: I see you
Ahh week two. Twas’ quite the experience. It was only four days long, but that’s not to say it wasn’t just as difficult or enjoyable as a week with an actual Monday. In this case, our Monday was Tuesday, and armed with a nice, red sunburn from Labor day’s festivities, I was ready to attack the week full force. In retrospect, the week was pretty average. It wasn’t until Friday that I realized just what I would write about. I now dedicate this article to Sharon McCaman, the winner of the “Friday Struggle Award.” Allow me to tell you this grand story, dear readers.
So we’re in ballet, right? And We’re sweating and panting and there’s sweat dripping from my shins all the way down to the ribbons of the poorest excuses for pointe shoes that suffocated my feet. I’m looking around the room in admiration of my class, trekking on through the plié`, going hard in the petite allegro. We got little Katie Chin straight killen’ em with pirouettes in one corner, and Sarah Walston busting out that sky-high extension she’s got going on. Ballet IV is looking mean and talented, ya’ll. And then there’s me, my head sunken in my shoulders and my eyebrows turned upwards because of my constant laughter at the technique that I’m just straight up just searching for at this point. “You know how to turn, legs. Do your damn job and stop making me look bad.”
I glance over at Colleen who gives me her usual “wassup” head nod followed by eyebrows that quickly rise two times. Think about that for a second, you know exactly which gesture I’m referring to. Anyway, We’re getting into the nitty gritty of petite allegro, and as you may have guessed, it’s a doozy. Jete’s followed by ballones followed by glissades that have to be “crispy!” If you’ve never attempted petite allegro while wearing pointe shoes, it can be best described as trying to jump around and do fancy footwork while wearing cinder blocks. Yeah. Try and make that look good. It can be done, don’t get me wrong, but it’s a feat not easily accomplished. Just a little insight, it’s now 12:28, we have two minutes left in class, and we all know Paula will go to the very last second and work the last drop of sweat right out of our pores. She tells us to do the combination one more time. We’ve all got one more round in us, it’ll look more sautéed and less crispy but, it’ll be cooked and that’s something (wow, that joke was reaching.) I finish both sides of the jete combo and am reintroduced to two horses, both named Charlie, that have decided to stomp around right in my calf area. As I’m stretching those stallions out of my legs, I look behind me and notice the most beautiful sight I had seen the entire week. Forget sky high extension, forget four pirouettes that land in a passé above the knee, this sight was nothing less than perfection. I’m staring at Sharon, one of the hardest working women I’ve ever met, wearing one pointe shoe, the other foot covered in a sock, and the lady is still doing the combination as full as out as possible. All I can think in this moment is “YASSS Shern. You go with your bad self. Don’t let those blocks of plaster get you down.” In that moment, I admired my class even more. You make due with what you have. If all you have is one foot on pointe then you give 100% of that 50% coverage. Sharon, you’re an inspiration, and I look up to that incredible work ethic that you bring to the studio each and every day. Keep it up my friend, it is you that will lead the struggling away from the slick spots on the Marley and over to the studios that allow us to use Rosen. (Seriously USF, please fix those floors. Consider this a work order request.)