Last Monday, the day of my intestinal upheavals, Madge's ballet class had an open session. Great fun. My escape to the vomitorium after the event is by no means a reflection upon the event itself.
One of the best parts was the piano player. Yes, ballet classes, at least the ones Madge has attended, have flesh-and-blood musicians to keep time and offer a backdrop.
Visually, this guy was nothing at all compared to the lovely Miss Olga from Miss Tilly's Ballet Studio in San Francisco. But he was far more entertaining. She tended to play the same few pieces. Some Mussorgsky, some Grieg, some Tchaikowsky, and that was pretty much it. This guy was improvising the whole time, simple four-measure things, changed as to the mood required. He was super-sloppy, missing notes all the time. But that wasn't the point. He was as unsubtle as a kid's ballet class requires, with crazy glissandi when the kids were doing their turns and tiptoe music when they were doing delicate cat steps.
Come to think of it, the difference between Miss Olga and this guy is the difference between San Francisco and New York. Miss Olga was lovely, did everything right, sunny, and had a warm, loving personality. This guy was fun to look at (though not lovely by a long stretch), sloppy, over-the-top, oddly needy of recognition and lapping up my compliments to him afterwards, but completely fitting and totally fun.
See, what we need is a house at each coast.
Oh, yes, and Madge was great, too. She had missed quite a few classes before this, the last one. And we found out afterwards that all the fairly complex routines that she did as well as all the other kids were brand new to her that day. She's a quick learner.