When I disemboweled Knoxville Ballet School, liquidated it in the summer of 2012 just before my divorce was final, I was flush with pianos. Shortly before his death, my Uncle Stan had implored me to take the piano from my grandparents’ house in Chattanooga, the one he’d grown up playing before he launched himself into … Continue reading Piano Story: Taking Care of (Unfinished) Business
I find it ironic that Cuba—whose national ballet company is celebrating its 70th year—is as much renowned for its exceptional classical ballet, including its extraordinary male dancers, who rival the best dancers in Europe, or Canada or the States, or South America (another wellspring of gorgeous ballet dancers), as it is for its legendary baseball … Continue reading Ballet Story: More Than a Pastime for Cuba’s Boys and Men
The Episcopal School of Knoxville will turn 20 this coming fall, inconceivably. My 20-something kid was a kindergartner in its inaugural year, 1998. This matters to me mainly because it’s a school my ex and I founded, together with a few other families, the culmination of a mammoth effort that was about five or so … Continue reading Writing Story: A School Is a Place to Learn
When your mom is a ballerina, and other members of your family’s network—friends and other relatives—are involved in ballet or other performing arts, people expect you will go down that road, too: it’s only natural. My earliest memories are attached to ballet mainly, and they are powerful and sensorial: I can’t smell rosin or walk … Continue reading Equivocating My Way Through Life
The fall has come not a moment too soon, some might say. Peter Martins stepped down as Ballet Master in Chief at New York City Ballet last week after allegations of sexual harassment and the verbal and physical abuse of company members, reported the New York Times. This is not the first time he has … Continue reading Falling from Grace: Ballet Has a Reckoning
Last night we saw ‘big’ ballet right down the road in Manchester. It’s a rare thing in these parts, in this underserved and sometimes overlooked state of Vermont, where a tiny population can’t support big art, or even medium-sized art of this caliber. We got lucky this time. Billed simply as ‘An Evening of Dance … Continue reading An Evening of Ballet: Refueling at the Mothership
Life promises nothing. And everything. An earnest young man named Tristan called me Wednesday night on behalf of the University of Tennessee’s Arts and Sciences Annual Telefund, he said. I found a mailer from my alma mater in the P.O. box last week, so I knew this was coming and already planned to give. Perfect … Continue reading Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor: What Does Your Life Promise?
Scout was mainly charming at work all last week, save his single throaty warning growl misdirected at the company CEO. He was walking towards us with a scary cardboard box, though, so you can imagine. Still, Scout was patient through long hours of copy writing and editing, and for that he was rewarded with a romp—the second in … Continue reading Oh, Just. Let. Me.
It happens the first week in every January, and here it is again, right on schedule: I must have lettuce. Lots of it and all kinds, and other crunchy greens, and an embarrassment of colorful, raw vegetables. It’s not about cleansing or weight loss, but instead is the natural consequence of a month of indulgences … Continue reading Bee in My Bonnet
Unrelenting questions, lobbed one after another by a well-intentioned ballet school dad, my back inches from an icy cooler packed with pricey frozen concoctions in one of Knoxville’s fancy new grocery stores. Did I think there was something special in his young daughter Celia? Did she possess a gift for classical ballet? And what about … Continue reading How Firm a Foundation: Training a Young Dancer for Life