Yesterday Bea and I had a ballet class. Well, I say class, but it was less professional than that. I taught her the steps and arm movements with the help of a book written by Darcy Bussell called The Young Dancer. As I moved with not much grace from first to second position I thought, as I do most days, about how much I regret not pursuing my fantasy and going for a career as a ballet dancer.
But there is hope for me yet. I read today that an 88-year-old-man is about to make his balleting debut on stage this Sunday. He has been dancing since he was 79 and will be performing in Prokofiev’s The Stone Flower, the composer’s last ballet, which premiered at the Bolshoi in 1954. Now it will be the talk of Ely, a Cambridgeshire city most famous (until this coming Sunday) for its Norman Cathedral.
John Lowe, as the new Nureyev is called, says he can’t understand why more men don’t do ballet. “I went to a dance school in the high street in Ely and asked if I could do tap and ballet and they said ‘well of course you can’ and I’ve been doing it ever since,” says the retired teacher and grandfather of 11. “I see these people crawling around , hunched over smoking a cigarette – they should be doing ballet.”
I couldn’t agree more. And I am going into training now. Covent Garden here I come. In another forty years I may just be ready for you.
Copyright: Helena Frith Powell 2008