Rozanne’s Life Long Love
I have taken ballet classes and taught ballet all my life I love the ballet class more than the performing. To me, the class is the place where I can reach beyond myself. The performance is a place where I can only do what I’m certain I can do.
Over the years, I’ve dabbled in other forms of dance - modern, spanish, jazz, tap, hindu, clogging. They are all fun, but for me they do not inspire me like ballet inspires me. Here's how a little hollow backed pigeon toed kid who tripped over her own feet became a ballet dancer.
Waiting for my big sister’s play rehearsal to end, I noticed a girl in the corner of the big room. She was doing the most magnificant things - swirling about. I tugged on my mother’s skirt hem. She leaned down. I asked what the girl was doing. “That’s ballet,” Mom said. I said, “Me want do that!”
The next day, I told Mom again, that I wanted to do ballet. Mom thought I was too young to know what I wanted so she ignored my request. Well Mom was wrong and I let her know it.. If she asked me if I’d like more peas or potatoes, I would reply, “I would like ballet.” Whatever she said to me, got the same reply, “Me want ballet.” I harassed her for 2 years. before she caved in.
At last, Mom could take no more. She took me to an interview with Florence Picket. who said I was too young. Mom said I toe danced around the house all the time. Ms. Picket raised out of her chair, “Never ever dance on your toes!” I shrunk back and stopped dancing on my toes. Ms. Picket’s comment gave Mom the opening she needed. Mom said, “She’s going to dance. No one can stop her. Wouldn’t it be better if she had instruction rather than left on her own to fumble about?” Ms. Picket was silent for a moment and then agreed to teach me. After a couple quickie lessons, she threw me in with a large class of adults. About 6 months after starting Miss Picket quit teaching to become KGW TV’s Konnie Worth.
I then took from a number of teachers, sometimes 2 or more at the same time. I stayed with Miss Renoux for 3 grueling years. I put up a fuss every Saturday morning, “Please Momma, please don’t make me go to ballet.” She ignored my pleas. After every class, I would say, “Please Momma please don’t listen to me before ballet. I love ballet.” It took decades for me to figure out why I put up such a fuss before class. Everyone else accepted my half efforts. Miss Renoux would not. She was on my case every class. It was painful, but thanks to her, I learned how to give it my all. As a result, I became a pretty good dancer.
I had taken from every reputable teacher in Portland save one. After 3 months with Schumacher, I told Mom I wanted to quit. Schumacher was an excellent teacher, but her classes were packed, little room to move, and her style was did not match me. Mom arranged an interview with the last reputable teacher, Maria Dare of the Ballet House. Mom sent me alone, thinking that I disliked teachers that she picked out. As I left for the interview, Mom told me to lie about my age. At the interview the question came up and I lied. I said I was 13 not 12 years old (like a year would have made a big difference.) I watched Maria teach a class. I went home and told Mom I wanted to take from this teacher. Mom asked sarcastically, “How long this time?” I replied, “She has something I want. I will take from Maria until I get it.” At the time, I was thinking it would take 2 years. Decades later, I was still taking from Maria and still trying to get what she had.
I moved around, taking ballet classes and teaching wherever I landed. When I was employed full-time, ballet teaching became a sideline. Because of relocations, I got very good at teaching beginners. I find beginning classes the most important of all. Those are the classes that set habits that last a lifetime.
I retuned to Oregon in 1985, and resumed taking classes at the Ballet House while living on the coast. Maria Dare said teach so I opened a ballet school in Seaside OR that evolved into Quest Ballet Academy.
Now official retired, my studio has become my playroom, a place to dance at 3 a.m. or whenever the mood strikes me.