Friday, June 12, 2009

Article #59 Piano Lessons

My mom as a young girl living in a small Utah rural community had always longed for a piano to learn to play. She knew this would never happen because her mom was a widow struggling to find work to support her family of five dependent children. So Mom did the next best thing, she drew piano keys on a cardboard box and pretended to play. Later when she married and I came along, Mom decided to buy me a piano. 

Although I had no interest in learning to play, she arranged lessons for me. After years of trying to convince her that I’d never fulfill her dream of being a pianist, she let me stop taking lessons. It was my tears at my first planned piano recital that finally convinced her. The move to California helped as we left our piano behind with grandma in Utah, and it brought the opportunity for me to study dancing.

My first introduction to ballet was confined to learning to do pliĆ©s at my new girl friend Mary Anne’s house. Holding onto her mother’s ironing board, my friend who had taken ballet lessons for several years was my teacher. Her dad taught piano but I couldn’t get enough dance instruction after I finally convinced my mom that ballet would make me happier than all the piano lessons in the world. 

My greatest desire was to join my friend in her classes and perform in the famous ballet Swan Lake. I wanted to be in the Dance of the Little Swans. It’s a very intricate toe dance executed in unison by a group of four advanced ballet dancers, all unfortunately quite short. I was always tall for my age. You can imagine my disappointment, when after a few months of ballet lessons, our recital came along and I danced in a beginner’s ballet called the Seasons. I was the center dancer representing the sun because of my height. Within a year I had caught up with Mary Anne and danced with her in the ballets Coppelia, and Cinderella. 

During the summers, we attended the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles to see Swan Lake as performed by the professional New York City Ballet. Their starring ballerina in those days was named Maria Tallchief, but she was not as tall as me. Ballet seemed like a dream world of handsome men and beautiful ballerinas dancing out my favorite fairy tales.

6 comments:

kavita said...

Very pretty pictures....good to know that you got a chance to do what you wanted to do......my daughter hates drawing,because she needed help we arranged a very good teacher for her but even after six months her feelings have not changed....she hates the classes,i want to stop her tutorials but other members of my family want to continue....she too loves dancing..soon she is going to join one class for the same.Apart from art classes she is a very cooperative child...

mom/caryn said...

You had the good fortune to be a tall, willlowy, young lady who had the height and slender arms and legs that look so elegant in a ballet.

I struggled to reach 5'2" in my adulthood. Always petite (almost a mini person) probably better equipped for gymnastics. Except I never had the courageous heart for that.

It's wonderful that your mother had the wisdom to let you live YOUR dream, and quietly tuck hers away.

Linda Reeder said...

I wish your mother had lived at a time when she could have bought the piano for herself and been the one to take lessons. She could have played while you danced.

SandyCarlson said...

This kind of vignette is exactly the kind of story my grandmother would tell me about her own childhood, and I was able to put the pieces together to know the story of my family. It was so meaningful.

Your mom's desire to play piano and your tears make a poignant story. Your mom had a big heart and wanted the best.

dellgirl said...

This is a great post, Lin. I have learned a few more things about you, all very interesting. Those sound like fun times, I know you enjoyed yourself because you write so lovingly about it. I can see it all so clearly.

Thanks for sharing a bit of yourself and your life.

I hope you have a good weekend.

Rambling Woods said...

I took ballet and piano lessons, but neither for very long or very successfully. I'm glad that your Mother let you live your dream, not hers...
Michelle From Rambling Woods