I watched On Pointe on Disney+ this week. It was a documentary following the young dancers of the School of American Ballet (SAB) in New York.
I like watching shows about dance that reflect the discipline and dedication young dancers submit to in pursuit of a dream. The school itself is highly selective and only chooses those whom they believe have a serious chance of a career in ballet. I would have never made the cut.
Although I was rail thin and had long legs for my body, I had flat feet, I could not remember combos, and I was not flexible. This led me to be a constant subject of my instructor’s ire. Maybe she was disappointed that she had to teach the likes of me.
All of this did not deter my interest in the art. I still well up with excitement when I see the tree grow in the Nutcracker. The idea of new pink ballet shoes still excites me. And I sometimes wish a younger version of myself had real determination to be a dancer. I love how they move.
The show followed the school for the 2019-2020 season. And of course, as the Spring 2020 term arrived, so did COVID, and the show abruptly ended with clips of students doing their best with online classes in livingrooms and make shift dance studios.
It was depressing seeing such exuberant dancers struggle to find some normalcy in the shutdown. It was a reminder of what we all encountered as we discovered this new normal.
The New York City Ballet will reopen it’s Nutcracker on November 26, 2021. I imagine, as I write this, the company is finishing their final dress rehearsal, and the dancers are once again excited to bring that story to life.
COVID disrupted everything, and in some ways it also helped us to appreciate our celebrations more. It’s not over yet. I predict at least three more years of this pandemic. Who knows what we will be numb to by then. But, I also hope we will be more grateful for the things we have, and the things we celebrate.