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  • Connection to/interest in ballet** (Please describe. Examples: fan, teacher, dancer, writer, avid balletgoer)
    Dancer in training for a decade when I was young; still keenly interested in ballet.
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  1. I was a student at the School of the Pennsylvania Ballet through the 1960s and early 1970s. To remember the ballet is to remember Barbara Weisberger. She was very present at the school in those years, and was physically arresting. In the summer, she’d teach in a sundress and sandals, which in no way impeded her very tight fifths while demonstrating tendu exercises. Her adagio combinations were wonderfully expansive. “Play something schmaltzy!” she’d say to the pianist, who’d oblige with Rachmaninoff. Just after I joined the school, I used to stand in the doorway to the big studio on Saturdays and watch C class. Company members took it too, which meant that it got very crowded. If there was no room left at the barre, a ladder was pulled into the middle of the room to serve as an ersatz barre. At least once, I was recruited to sit at the top of the ladder to weight it down. It was an awkward perch for a self-conscious teen, but thrilling. Unlike duffster, I never did have a career in ballet. With the humility of age, I’m amazed that I ever thought I could. When, after many years, I finally screwed up the courage to ask Weisberger about my prospects, she gently told me it wasn’t in the cards. I tried for a while longer, and then gave it up and went on to other things. Nonetheless, those years of movement and of music will always remain the happiest of my life.
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