Extra-Curricular Activities I Loved

I already talked about twirling my rifle in the band so I won’t go plow that field again. Today, I’ll talk about an activity I did from first grade until I graduated from high school. Ballet.  And later, Jazz and tap.

I started ballet  lessons when I lived in Virginia. I loved, loved the music, the gracefulness and the unutterably sad stories that the music and the dance helped to tell. I was mesmerized and I tried my darndest to be a graceful swan. Alas, a klutz I was and a klutz I still am.

When I moved to Florida, the ballet studio also offered jazz and tap. Lo and behold, I found my dance niche. I didn’t have the hands of a graceful ballerina, rather, I had JAZZ hands. I could fling those fingers out there and slap those taps like a champ. It was fun, but I still had the dream of being a ballerina in a tragedy.

One year, the year I got a featured part in the ballet (yes, me!), a girl in PE class leapt on my foot as I played 3rd base. This was on Monday. Performance was set for Saturday. My ankle was fractured. Oh, the tears and recriminations. It was hell week for the parents.  I insisted on heading down to the performance and stood in the wings on my crutches until time to go on.  And go on I did. It hurt like crazy but this was my turn, my chance, my thing.  I did a passable job and was proud of myself for it.

I still love the ballet and watch whenever I get the chance. I really would’ve run off with Mikhail Baryshnikov given the chance. He was spectacular! Check it out:


About Author

The author of these blog posts is a lawyer by day and fiction writer by night.
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14 Responses to Extra-Curricular Activities I Loved

  1. Lavada Dee says:

    Wow, loved the video. Jillian the more I read your blogs the better I get to know you and really like you. One of these days, hopefully in person. So many of your dreams I share, wellll not being a dancer but aspiring to being and doing more … yeah I can relate.


  2. danicaavet says:

    I’ve always wondered…how are JAZZ hands different from Spirit fingers? I’m not the dancing type…it really irritated my band director in high school when he decided he wanted the BAND to link arms and sway as we played a song. Really. We weren’t dancers, dude. We’re musicians! Gah.


    • Lol. I totally get the musician vs dancer thing. Not sure about spirit fingers. Is that what ghosts have? Hehhehe.


      • Micki Gibson says:

        Oooh! Ooh! (Waves hand madly) I think I know the difference. Spirit fingers are just jazz hands that can’t stay still. Or at least that’s what the cheerleaders did back in my first year of teaching. (I totally got hired because I said, “Yes. I’ll be the cheerleader sponsor.”) Jazz hands speak for themselves. They’re like, “Pow! Take a picture of me. I can stay still, unlike those hyperactive spirit fingers.”


  3. jeff7salter says:

    I think it’s awesome that you performed on a fractured ankle. That’s true dedication of a trouper.


    • That’s me. The show must go on, right? My mom thought I was not that bright for doing it.


      • jeff7salter says:

        I believe you made the right choice — and rather heroically.
        If you had not gone out there, it may have been a life-long regret that you missed that performance.
        Now your only regret is the ankle throbs when a Hurricane approaches. LOL


  4. Jeff- that ankle is so weak now that I’ve actually broken it twice since then. I have also sprained it innumerable times. I am glad I did it because you’re rght about regrets, but I think it did weaken the bone since I was en pointe and that was insane.


  5. Laurie Ryan says:

    oooh, I LOVE Mikhail Barshnikov! Did you ever see his dancing in the intro to the movie White Knights? Excellent! And congrats to you for going out on that stage. You turned a bad memory into an empowering one. Well done!


  6. Micki Gibson says:

    (Sigh) Mikhail Barishnikov. He makes it look so easy. You know you’re never too old to dance. I have jazz shoes and I’m not afraid to use them.


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