Connor and I were watching the episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood where Mr. Rogers visits the Dance Theatre of Harlem. Of course, I mentioned to Connor that Mommy used to take ballet class when she was little — and, of course, he wanted to see pictures.
I took ballet class at Laura Penton’s Academy of Classical Ballet (later renamed the Medina Academy of Classical Ballet, now long since gone) from when I was four years old to when I was eight. Over those four years, I performed in three recitals (we moved to Florida in 1984 just before what would have been my final recital), but I could only find photos of my last recital from 1983, when I was seven — the one with the purple sequined leotard and tutu with the magic wand and matching star tiara.
All the snapshots of my actual dance recitals involve me looking like I’m out of sync with everyone else, in addition to being a head taller than
all most of the other girls. My mother insists that this is because all the other girls were taking their cues from me. I think she’s just saying that because she’s my mother.
(Now that I look closer, though, none of us are really in sync, and we all look very serious, like we’re concentrating with all our seven-year-old might. And none of us have particularly good turn-out — of all my memories of ballet class, I recall our teacher harping on us the most about that.)
I also wonder if future generations whose major life moments were captured on early digital cameras or cell phone cameras will experience the same kind of technology regret that I feel when I look at these old pics from my Mom’s 110 Instamatic. There’s something kind of meta there, too, though… some parallel between the fuzzy memory and the fuzzy picture. Try as you might, some details just can’t be recalled exactly as they were.