Day 107: organs

After I got chucked out of the Royal Ballet School because of my stumpy legs I started taking classes at the London School of Classical Dance, run by the extraordinary Natasha Lisakova. Natasha was beautiful, imperious, and never tired of insisting that we could and should all have eighteen-inch waists because the spine was the only thing that took up any room in your waist region. A number of us argued with her, insisting that there were organs as well bones between your ribcage and your hips, but she would hear none of it.

I bring up the London School of Classical Dance because I had a flashback this morning to one of our dance recitals.

I was, I think, eleven (so it would have been 1985 or thereabouts), and everyone in my year was dancing in a sedate, beautiful dance based on a section of La Bayadère[1] We were dressed in white and it was a highly orderly and symmetrical piece of choreography. After we’d performed our dance we were allowed to sit in the audience with our parents so we could watch the senior students perform. I vaguely remember that there was a modern ballet to Mozart’s Requiem, which I found quite boring and difficult to sit through.

But then, at the very end, there was the dance that all the seniors had choreographed themselves, which was to Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy.” It was a clever segue from the Mozart, because “Let’s Go Crazy” begins, you’ll recall, with that funereal sounding organ, and it’s only when the drum kicks in when Prince says, “so when you call up that shrink in Beverly Hills …” that it turns into something else.

We all sat there with our eyes wide as saucers. The dancers who had just been performing the austere dance to the Requiem were now cutting loose and dancing with wild abandon and silliness. One dancer was wearing a tutu. Another was wearing bikini. Most of the others were just wearing their ripped up footless tights and leg-warmers. They were tumbling and leaping and throwing each other around and spinning so hard they were almost toppling over. It was full on Kids-from-Fame-meets-Footloose-tastic.

Zumba started with “Let’s Go Crazy” this morning. As soon as I heard the words “Dearly beloved …” I let out a little squeal. Dancing to Prince like a whirling dervish is my kind of Sunday service.


[1] If you don’t know the ballet, this will give you an idea. Watch any part of the clip from 2:30 onwards.