This is a column written by a humor columnist in
Florida but he also gets published in the Indianapolis
Star. I had tears running down my face by the time I
was done reading this because it's so funny. (It could
be because I have taken ballet and have seen a few
performances that I find this so amusing. Those of you
without that appreciation may not find this to be as
funny as I do.)
Anyway, I thought it was hysterical and I hope it at
least brings a smile to your face.


Posted on Sun, Dec. 22, 2002

The Lord of the Dance doesn't have anything on me

DAVE BARRY

I am not a fan of ballet.

Now, before you members of the Dance Community get
your leotards in a bunch, let me stress that I KNOW I
AM WRONG. I know that ballet is a beautiful artistic
form that requires great dedication and skill. I'm
just saying that I, personally, would rather watch a
dog catch a Frisbee.

My problem -- and it's MY problem, NOT ballet's
problem -- is that, because I am culturally
unsophisticated, all ballet looks to me like -- even
though I know there is MUCH more to it -- a troupe of
mincing mimes. Whatever the ballet plot is about --
love, hate, joy, sorrow, the Russian Revolution,
measles -- the reaction of the dancers is: ``It's
MINCING time!''

Granted, it is an extremely high caliber of mincing,
coupled with some impressive prancing. A non-graceful,
out-of-shape layperson like myself could not in a
million years prance like that. If I, in my current
weight class, were to attempt to launch myself into
the air and land on my tippytoes, I would have to be
minced off the stage by ballet paramedics.

So I admire the skill involved. It's just that, after
I have watched dancers mince around for, say, eight
minutes, I have had my ballet quota for that
particular decade.

The only time I truly enjoyed ballet was years ago,
when I attended a performance at a display garden
where the stage wings were formed by thick, high
hedges. At one point -- I estimate it was 14 hours
into the performance -- a male dancer and a female
dancer were onstage doing the Mince of Passion, and
the male did what a man must do in BalletLand to show
a woman that he truly loves her; namely, hoist her
over his head.

He then attempted to prance offstage with her, but her
tutu apparently obscured his vision, and he pranced
her, headfirst, smack into the shrubbery. She went in
as far as her shoulders. The male had to yank her out,
back up, re-aim, and prance off, trying to maintain an
expression of passion, though you could tell from the
female's face that the affair was OVER. I wanted to
shout: ``Encore!''

I know that, because of this column, I will receive
many angry (yet fragrant) letters from ballet lovers.
As a veteran columnist, I even know what these letters
will say.

''Dear Mr. Berry,'' they will say. ``As a member of
the Dance Community, I am appalled by the ignorance of
your ignorant column, which only reveals how ignorant
you are, you ignoramus. For you to so ignorantly
ignore the beauty of ballet, not to mention making
light of the potentially career-ending tragedy of a
shrub-related injury, only underscores the ignorance
of your ignorant . . .''

And so on. Well, guess what, ballet lovers? You don't
have to write! I am already being punished, severely,
for not liking ballet. My daughter has decided, at age
2 ½, that all she wants is to be a ballerina. She has
a tutu, which she wears with everything, including her
pajamas. She likes to mince and twirl, and she expects
her mother and me to mince and twirl with her, with
our hands over our heads, ballet-style. We do this a
LOT. ''Pirouette 'Til You Puke'' -- that is our motto.

We took Sophie to see a real ballet, and she loved it
so much that she had to get up and twirl in the aisle.
I even enjoyed some of it, although not the costumes
worn by the male dancers, which left nothing to the
imagination, if you know what I mean, and if you
don't, what I mean is they looked like they were
smuggling dead squirrels in their tights. I don't want
my daughter seeing that! Do these guys spend so much
on eyeliner that they can't afford a pair of shorts?

After the performance, the dancers went to the lobby
to meet the audience, thrilling Sophie, who got some
of them to sign her program. She now believes this is
an integral part of ballet. At home, after we twirl
for a while, she announces that she is going to the
''lobby,'' which is my closet, and she waits there, in
her tutu, until we bring her a pen and a paper to
``sign.''

So this is how I am being punished for not liking
ballet: I spend my days twirling and mincing, then
standing in a closet, getting an autograph from
somebody who can't write. Ballet lessons loom ahead. I
am now facing years of ballet-watching, and I frankly
don't know how I'm going to get through it.

Because these tights really itch.
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