Almost every day I think about my days at Ballet Rambert. My Mum took me for an audition… I must have been around 6. There were about 12 of us, and we were lined up on the floor. At the time, Ballet Rambert was located right in London in an old church. Junioirs and little ones would take class in this odd shapd basement room, while the office was on the main floor. The actual church had a wooden stage, and the seniors and principals would take class were the audience would normally sit. This is where I had my audition.
Apparently a teacher had come up to my Mum in pre-k after the end of the year play, and told her about Ballet Rambert, telling her that if she didn’t take me, she might be making the mistake of my life. So here I was, feeling naked in this leotard my Mum had just bought me, from a thrift store. Old socks on my feet. This very stern lady in black put us through some moves, and her assistant, a nice senior I suspect, adjusted when I was incorrect. In the corner, a lady who looked old enough to be my Grandma tinkered away on an upright piano as we moved.
Lastly, we were measured, how odd, I remember thinking. Then the dancers anxiety set in. There it started, right at day one. Was I the right size? Was I tall enough? Thin enough?
Within an hour it was done, and after I’d changed, I sat on the wooden bench in the entryway, watching my Mother talking to the lady in the office. After a boring amount of time, this woman glided out of the office as if she didn’t have feet and came over to me. I stood and curtsied as she took my hand. I remember her skin felt like tissue paper, the way older women’s do.
That’s all of my memory of my audition day. I don’t remember my Mother telling me that I was the child who had won a free scholarship to one of the most prestigious ballet schools in the world. I had no idea how right that teacher’s prediction would be, but not in the way you might think….