Almost one year. Yes, I know…I have been beyond neglectful. However, I was extraordinarily well brought up, and I believe the honoured mantra that if you don’t have anything nice to say, than don’t say anything at all. I submit this mantra as my reason for having been missing in action since the summer/fall of last year.
Needless to say, life has done a little boogie and manage to rearrange itself in a very different way than I was talking about it a year ago. I might as well get it out-of-the-way; I have about 40 days left as a dancer with Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo. Remember? The place that I said that I was really and truly happy with, and the family that I said I had found? Believe me, I’m very much aware of how ridiculous this whole thing sounds to any observer, but believe me when I say that I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that this is the way things are supposed to happen.
I suppose you must be wondering what on Earth could have managed to pull me away from the job that I had gushed about for two years. To be frank, it is nothing new, and as a matter of fact, if I look back on my child and teenage years, this should really have come as no surprise to me: the place where my love affair with lights, costumes, and applause began: Musical Theatre.
I was a child of the theatre from a very early age, as a matter of fact, my first stage appearance was at the age of three in a production of “Annie” with the Nova Scotia Drama League. I mention this particular production not only because it was my first time on stage, but there is a story surrounding the show that has become a staple family legend for the Parsons’. It is also a moment that I distinctly remember and can still see it through my three-year old eyes as if it happened yesterday. At the end of the show, the cast made their curtain calls, as happens the world over. We come on, bow, audience applauds, we leave, band plays exit music. The formula is unchanged no matter what show you are attending the world over. One evening however, one little boy, dressed as a homeless apple seller, was so busy looking out at the audience and trying to find his babysitter that he knew was supposed to be watching that night, that he just stood on the edge of the stage. Alone. Lights going down, the rest of the cast exiting. Still alone. Finally, someone calls him from the wings, and he snaps out of his trance and quickly runs off, realizing that he has been standing there all alone for some time.
In case you couldn’t guess by my ever-so-subtle storytelling…that little boy was me. I only appeared in two scenes in the whole show, and was basically the theatrical equivalent of an extra in a film…However I did insist on singing along to “We ‘d Like To Thank You,” even though nobody told me to. Perhaps the word singing is a bit strong, but you can still see me mouthing along when you watch the video. Though, why a three-year old found a sarcastically witty song about President Hoover sung by a bunch of homeless people entertaining, I have no idea. After that, I really got into the musical theatre, and that was actually the reason that I even started taking ballet in the first place: after having to dance while playing a munchkin in The Wizard of Oz. For several years, I went to summer theatre courses, did children’s production (including a star turn as Wilbur, the pig in Charlotte’s Web!), and took regular singing lessons; I even appeared as the lead in the operetta “Amahl and the Night Visitors”!
Even while I was away at ballet school, one of my most enjoyable times of the year was every February when we would produce “Music Night.” Music Night is basically a two-hour show put together by the music teacher at the school (which at the time had a fantastic music program). The school really believed that a proper music education was incredibly important to ballet dancers, even though I know there are many dancers who don’t agree with needing to understand music theory, and they couldn’t be more wrong (or aggravating to me: you cannot put the “1″ wherever you want!!) But I digress. It was a fully staged evening of musical numbers centered around a theme: we had “Tin Pan Alley” one year, to “Global Rhythm” another. The big kicker though was the year I graduated and we did the most broad theme ever “Bound for Broadway”, which was basically just a no holds barred celebration of Broadway music, with properly choreographed numbers by a teacher at the school who had actually been in some of the shows we excerpted from!
Without fail, every time that Music Night came around, I would have a mini career crisis (can you even really have those at the age of 16?), and I would totally fall to pieces in my head, thinking that perhaps I was doing the wrong thing in pursuing ballet , and perhaps that I should have just stuck with what I had began with. These periods always passed, of course. The seed laid dormant in the back of my brain however, and now it has taken root, and spread like Ivy on an old brick building. So much so in fact, that it has permeated inside and out, totally taking over.
I had one of my mini career crises again this fall. Except this time it wasn’t so mini…and it wouldn’t go away either. It remained for a month, three months, six months, with no redeeming moments in between. It became clear to me that no pesticide would clear it from the building; it wanted in, and in it was going to stay. So in February, I handed in my notice, and started to make plans. London had been calling to me ever since I first visited when I was ten years old. I even auditioned for the English National Ballet twice because I was so determined that I wanted to live in London! Now I am happy to say that in just a few short months, the plan panned out. So, visa in hand, I will be packing up my life and heading to London in about 40 days. The future is unknown, but I know that I’m going to have a damn good time getting to know it!
What do British people do? Surely not Double Kiss…How about Tally-ho?