I think she had a sort of training of it. In the West we’d never used it, but what I thought was very, very important that I was not gonna dance the way my own mother did, but be more traditional like her daughter. So it’s like, “Okay, here I am, here I will learn the art of traditional ballet.” And she wanted my mother to perform her own stuff and dance her own songs. That’s kind of her thing, isn’t it, is to get together with her friends and have a little rehearsal party on the weekends and have great music and things like that and then go on to do things like the opera, or do something in the circus and see what happens. It was very important for her to have that opportunity to be out onstage, like to experience other cultures and to see for herself, like when she moved to Paris to be with her friends and get used to different music and different people. That was important for her.
That’s interesting: You’ve said that you didn’t have a formal training in ballet even as a kid.
What are your memories of ballet lessons?
There was always a lot of physical activity on the floor, but I think on a lot of occasions we did not talk ballet or even really practice. It was all about rehearsing and knowing how to dance, and so then she would bring her instruments and they would be on the floor with other instruments and she would take her ballet lessons after, and then go to the piano and start taking music lessons, and then do her own little rehearsal exercises. It was so important because that was her part to do—to see what was needed to learn and to be ready to perform. She also did ballet lessons with her children too. I think sometimes she would be on stage with her children and just practice in the living room. I guess that would come next.
What have you learned about the ballet world through your own travels?
It used to be that there was nothing here but dancing and music everywhere, but nowadays you have to be aware of history and culture and to bring a different sensibility. You have to be able to know how to relate. So, yes, there are still these very strict rules on what you can and cannot wear, which is a little bit strange, but as the years have progressed I have come to appreciate that that’s not really an issue anymore. I think we’ve learned that it’s about doing what you love and
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