But how would Griffin Colapinto fare as a ballerina?
But of all the most gracious, most beautiful arts there are on the face of this gorgeous earth, where do you place professional competitive surfing? For my money, it sits right above collegiate ice hockey, right below light welterweight boxing, nowhere near ballet which just so happens to occupy the absolute peak of perfection.
My love for the ephemeral, yet dictatorial, dance has been growing steadily over the past three years, a product of my young daughter’s being caught in its snare, I suppose. When she was an infant, the wife of a wonderful surf industry friend stretched out her baby leg and said “she will dance ballet.” I disregarded, imagining her reaching fame and fortune synchronized swimming or being a jockey (she liked to swim wearing makeup and ride horses as fast as she could until instructors screamed after the safety of their beasts).
Maybe even a professional snowboarder even though my ex-professional snowboard wife declared that would only happen over her (wife’s) dead body. An extremely high price to pay, all things considered.
Destiny, thankfully, is destiny and she took a ballet class, then another, then became impossibly trapped. Ballet chooses the dancer, they say, not the other way around but it also must choose the dancer’s father and this past year has found me reading everything I could, watching everything I could, learning everything I could.
Obsessed. A full balletomane.
The Mariinsky, Sylvie Guillem, Swan Lake, Tchaikovsky, Rudolf Nuryev, arabesques, France, Russia, Italy, the Staatsballet, Mother Ginger etc. ad infinitum.
So there I was in Copenhagen, down a deep rock n’ roll hole but salvation was nigh for I knew, through research, that the Royal Danish Ballet would be performing outdoors in the evening, just off the harbor, on the perfectly designed porch of their opera house, and the grime of Gloryhammer would be washed right away.
We showed up early, thanks to inside information from Copenhagen’s most famous woman, in order to watch the dancers warm up on the barre to gentle plunks from a piano. Our spot on the cement, slightly stage left, perfect. The sky, overhead, filling with clouds. We sat on that slightly stage left patch of cement, young daughter on lap, and felt the hammer of glory. Have you ever heard toe shoes clicking on a stage floor? That is exactly what it is.
The rock hammer of glory.
The warm-ups lasted for an hour and a half, or such, the dancers filed into a black tent off to the side and the director came to the front, telling the audience, which had swelled to the thousands, that light rain, sprinkling for fifteen minutes or so, would delay the beginning of the program, slightly. Taking a toe shoe and banging it on the floor for emphasis. Or at least that’s what I imagined he told the audience as the whole exchange occurred in Danish.
I sat, young daughter on lap, for a further ten minutes then decided to stand and stretch, to prepare my soul, except when I stood, I could not feel my left leg and decided that stepping with it would return sensation. Next thing I heard was a quick pop, pop, pop emanating from my ankle and I was suddenly sitting in a heap on our patch of cement, thoroughly embarrassed.
The Royal Danish ballet took the stage soon after my collapse and I watched them come out in their beauty and watched my ankle turn a hideous purple, puffing like a balloon, like a diabetic hoof. Well what to do? Damn it. I made the regrettable decision to hobble to the hospital, imagining those pop, pop, pops must have been breaking bone.
My young daughter stayed, thankfully, and thoroughly enjoyed the performance, getting to see rare pas de deux due the Danish crown’s largesse. I FaceTimed her from the waiting room and she gushed about Balanchine. Everything wonderful except me missing. The doctor told me I had snapped a handful of ligaments, not bone, after a quick X-ray, and I was out the door, hobbling, happy that I had been injured ballet-adjacent and wondering how Griffin Colapinto would fare as a ballerina.
Filipe Toledo, spins and all, is simply too short no matter what enthusiastic Brazilian fans say.