When a Beloved Dog Dies, Ballet Class Helps


My beloved Labrador retriever died this week, after a very short illness. I was not prepared. Max and I were inseparable for 13 years. So much revolved around him -- walks, feeding, the way I timed my day. He interacted joyfully with everyone in our lives. Despite humanity's "big" problems and the realization there is human tragedy around all around us, my heart remains broken. Max and I had a remarkable relationship, and with him gone nothing feels quite right.

Which brings me to ballet. When nothing seems normal, ballet class is consistent and blessedly diverting. When life is out of order, ballet class remains happily reliable. Plié, tendu, dégagé, rond de jambe, developpé, frappé, grand battement... a classical ballet class always has order. It is a place where music and "combinations," concentration and physical strength become all-consuming. There is no room in a ballet class for outside thought.

Ballet's mind game and extreme physicality has served me well the last few days, to distract from the pain of losing Max, my best friend. Work, seeing friends, going to a movie... nothing is really quite as effective. If only ballet class were twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, I would be fine.