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Lauren Kessler

Raising The Barre – Excerpt

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The moment Kim and I step into The Dancers’ Closet I feel as if I’m in a nine-year-old girls’ fantasy – my fantasy when I was that age: pink tutus hanging on the wall, glittery embellished toe shoes displayed like pieces of art, a gorgeous Black Swan costume hugging a torso-only mannequin, circular racks of brightly colored leotards, some sequined, others feathered.  A little girl and her mother are shopping.  The girl is prancing around in a sapphire blue leotard with the price tag hanging off one delicate shoulder.  Her mother is smiling and nodding, her arms full of other choices, all jewel-toned.

Kim and I sit down in the shoe section in between the leotard tacks and the two dressing rooms.  The sales clerk comes right over.  She doesn’t seem surprised to see women our age (without children), which I take to be a good sign.  We tell her we are in the market for ballet slippers.  “We’re going to take a ballet class,” I say, as if there could be some other explanation for buying ballet slippers.  I immediately feel ridiculous for saying this and – I can’t believe I’m admitting this — I giggle.  It must have something to do with being in a nine-year-old’s tutu fantasy world. Kim either mercifully does not hear this or, even more mercifully, chooses to ignore it.

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