She was gracious, elegant and beautiful. Her hands moved in harmony with the hands of other girls. Her strong legs did grand jetés, pas de deuxs, pirouettes, plies with elegance of a butterfly. She had confidence and one could tell she loved ballet more than anything.
As I excitedly watched my niece’s beautiful ballet recital, giggles interrupted the enjoyment of the performance. “My goodness, that girl looks like a whale.” More giggles. Parents in the crowd were mocking the poor 10-year old girl on stage. She obviously stood out among the freakishly skinny, lean, and bony co-ballerinas. Her jumps might have been heard louder since gravity hit the stage with more force, but her dancing wasn’t worse for it.
“That’s probably why Mrs. April put her in the back row,” the other woman commented. “Poor girl, she looks horrible in that costume.” With a loud “shhhh” I tried to tone down their obnoxious gossiping, but it was too late as they already ruined the night.
Grown women criticizing a young girl for her weight. I couldn’t believe it. After the show, as I waited for my niece, the young girl passed me by. I tapped her on the shoulder. She looked back at me; her make-up was still intact and she looked happy. “Your looked great out there,” I said. “Don’t ever quit ballet.” She smiled widely, mumbled “thanks” and joined her friends. I spent the rest of the day thinking what is wrong with this world.