The ballet down here really tries to use kids in its productions. It actively seeks ways to incorporate young people into its works. This summer, Caroline got to be in the cast of Giselle. There is a summer program for older kids (older than Caroline) and at the end of their run, they put on a show. But the ballet draws from its younger set, and Caroline was chosen to participate. She has been in the Nutcracker. She knows how to handle herself onstage, and she has an idea of what’s expected of her during ballet.

She came home from the dress rehearsal wailing, “I can’t be in the show if I don’t have eyeliner.”

So we stopped and bought eyeliner on the way home.

And I got ready to Google-tube the hell out of that subject, because baby, I don’t wear make-up. I’m allergic to it. I can wear greasepaint, but not cosmetics. I have never met one that doesn’t break me out in massive hives. Lipstick’s about all I can sport. And I understand how to apply blush and eye shadow, and in a real pinch, mascara. But eyeliner is formally out of my depth.

And because I am me, I didn’t think to just ask for help. Mercifully, I was bemoaning my fate to my friend Linda, and she said, “What time do you need me at your house?” Not only did she apply eyeliner. She also gave Caroline base, mascara, blush that didn’t evaporate in ten seconds, and a coat of lipstick that the audience could see. And she did it in under half an hour without once snarling “SIT STILL!” as I am prone to do when I have to paint my daughter colors.

The ballet was intense, and they had those 8-10 year old kids onstage for the entire first act.

Caroline got so much out of the experience, and I’m so proud of her for taking the initiative. I’m not a backstage mama. (Though I volunteer for The Nutcracker pretty much wherever they need me.) And neither are the other parents here. We’re pretty laid back about this, so when a kid is really into ballet, it’s because the kid wants it, not because some mother is living out her unfulfilled ballerina-princess dreams. (I took ballet for one year? Two at most? I loved performing, hated actually learning, and had no interest in continuing. My children’s continued and intensified fascination with it absolutely does not come from me.)  We all love to watch the productions, but this is just a kickass extracurricular, and it’s driven by the people who are doing it.

I have a little more to say on the topic, but I’ll save that for its own rather lengthy post tomorrow.

About jesterqueen:
Jessie Powell is the Jester Queen. She likes to tell you about her dog, her kids, her fiction, and her blog, but not necessarily in that order.


Giselle — 19 Comments

  1. that is so awesome that Caroline has the opportunity to be part of something she loves. She looks beautiful too.

    FYI: I would be in the same quandary as you re: makeup. I’m not allergic to it BUT I rarely ever wear it. I just can’t be bothered. I can apply the basic stuff but eyeliner? No way. I’d be poking people’s eyes out 😉

    Oh and I have to say this: the dude in the cast photo? Holy crap, is he wearing a cup? Cause that is some package!!
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    • Danseurs don’t wear underpants, and cups would interfere with lifts. (Sometimes the guys go skyward, too.) I wrote a whole post about how real danseurs don’t wear underpants awhile back. Because. Well. They don’t. And it’s ALL I CAN THINK ABOUT when I watch ballet. They have a little restraint inside the leotard that kind of squashes the package together, but it’s nothing like a cup.

  2. She looks like she loves makeup, Mom. 🙂 Happy to have it applied. Thrilled to wear it in public. It is so funny how kids can be the opposite of their parents. My mother never went out of the house without makeup. Still doesn’t. So, of course, I always appear in public with a naked face, much to her chagrin and dismay.
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    • I’m exactly like my hippy Mom on this one. I used to love wearing it when I was little, just for social fun, but when I started getting hives, I was like, “eh, I’m cute without anyway.”

    • She had so much fun getting her face done. I’m thinking that for her 9th birthday, I’ll take she and a friend and let them get something really girly like a manicure. It’s not exactly my idea of a good time, but she certainly does love it.

  3. I rarely know what’s supposed to be happening in a ballet, but back when I watched as many of them as I could on PBS, Giselle was my favorite. It’s so cool that your daughter was chosen to be part of this production. I’m glad your friend knew all the make-up tricks. The photos are just lovely.

    • That’s great! I only know what’s happening in ballet when I know the story beforehand. Sometimes, it’s fun to go into a show with no preconceived notions and just experience the motion and sound. But others, I want to know what plot elements to look for.

  4. She’ll get so much more out of it for having delved into it without you. That you support without pushing? Makes my heart happy.

    Plus also? Costumes! Performing! Yay!
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    • Yes – she absolutely will. It’s very much her thing, and she wants friends to come with her who have no interest and then wants to know why. She has that same delightful tunnel vision about this that I have about writing.

  5. Wow! Grand experience for your lucky girl! She’s beautiful, with or without the makeup,
    and she looks poised and stage savvy. Thanks for sharing.

  6. What an amazing opportunity! I love who you just went to the shop and got that eyeliner, what a great mum! And what a lovely, brilliant friend for coming over just like that and bailing you out of doing the warpaint. She looks gorgeous. I wouldn’t have thought to google makeup application, maybe there’s some learning out there for me to do. Like how on earth to use eyeliner! 😉
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