I learn many things from observing ballet class behind the comfort of my piano. I learn some french words. I learn how to play a "square" combination. And I learn what not to do, to get little girls to behave.
The instructor told the girls in the beginner's class to pay attention. "Calm down!" She said. "Stop wiggling!"
A spark of amusement rippled through the line of young girls. "Wiggle!" They laughed. What a silly word. What a silly, fun movement it implied. They of course had to demonstrate a wiggle. They squirmed their shoulders, bobbed their heads, and rocked their knees, all in an effort to create the perfect "wiggle."
The instructor immediately realized her mistake. She rolled her eyes in defeat. It was hopeless now.
Later, after the instructor successfully got them half way through bar exercises, she noticed they were bunched up in one corner. She attempted to space them out evenly. "Girls, slide down."
Slide! Oh, that's fun. Let's slide! Ballet slippers on top of a smooth floor work perfectly for sliding. Let's see who can slide the furthest!
Oh the poor instructor. She had her hands full that day. If only "calm" was a funny word. Let's see who can be the calmest. But that doesn't work for little girls. They are too happy, too innocent, too vibrant, and much too wiggly.
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