Monday, May 11, 2009

A Nostalgic Dance

Have you ever experienced a triggered moment of pure nostalgia? My daughters performed in their first dance recital a couple weekends ago. I did not take dance lessons myself as a child though I desperately wanted to. A very close friend took ballet for years and I was entranced by the romance of the traditional art form. This enchantment was fuelled by something I had forgotten until recently. The stage makeup, the frenzy of performance brought back the memory of a BBC production of "Ballet Shoes". When I was a young child I recall watching the movie in segments on what was probably the provincial television network TV Ontario. It was shown as a series or rather a mini-series. I was struck by how influential this movie must have been to me as the memory of it brought on a nostalgic ache! I could actually visualize specific scenes though it had been years since I had seen it. Needless to say I could hardly resist rushing to the computer that night after the recital to look up the title in the hopes that I remembered it correctly. There it appeared "Ballet Shoes" based on the novel by Noel Streatfield. The movie version I had seen was a BBC production from 1975 though it must have aired on TVO much later. I ordered the movie at once and realized with delight that a new film version had been produced a year or two ago starring Emma Watson {of Harry Potter fame}. I ordered this remake as well in the hopes that it might appeal to my daughters if the original did not.
As a mother I love sharing my memories with my children. I have always been the romantic sort and I suppose this is why nostalgia plays such a large role in my life. I sometimes think I live vicariously through my children and why not? My daughters came to me this fall with the desire to dance and I could not help but thrill at the idea my daughters might have the experience I had pined for. I would never expect them to continue if they did not have the interest. My girls have discovered they love dance and in particular the limelight of the stage. "Ballet Shoes" may not hold the same magic for them as it did for me but it was wonderful to revisit it as my daughters continue to blossom!

Ballet Shoes is the story of three "found" orphan girls Pauline, Petrova, and Posy. Each from separate families, all three had been picked up along the way by a roving scientist, collected just as he collected his fossils. The scientist's niece is left to raise the girls on a shoestring budget and she is forced to take on renters. One of these renters, a dance teacher finds free tuition for the girls at the dance school for which she works. Three renters, three girls and the perfect balance of mentors and proteges: a former teacher and doctor of literature forms a bond with the dramatic Pauline; a mysterious man with a motorcar becomes role model to the boyish Petrova; and the dance teacher a mentor to sweet little Posy, who when found in a basket had been accompanied by a pair of ballet slippers presumed to be her mother's. The three girls make a pact to become famous and to put their names in the history books! Madame at the dance school is the catalyst for their achievement and growth. It is this character I remember vividly! Eccentric and harsh yet somehow loving and nurturing, Madame is a former Russian Prima Ballerina whose passionate love of her art and need to pass it on is compelling!
You can find these films and the novels by Noel Streatfield at Amazon!

1 comment:

  1. I never took dancing lessons either and you can tell. I can't wait to put my oldest in lessons once she turns 3. She is a natural dancer already and will love dance classes