“His mother was a dancer. This meant that she could be found on certain afternoons on the second floor of a building on Eighty-ninth Street and Broadway, standing barefoot and in a leotard on a vast wooden floor, often in some strange position. His father had taken him a couple of times to the empty room with an upright piano in the corner. Together they walked up a long narrow flight of dimly lit stairs, at the top of which was a large sunlit space. Sweating men and women in leotards were either jumping around or standing and watching some other person jump around. Their leotards gave them the quality of something encased, like M&M’s. His mother always stood in their midst, panting.
She was also a choreographer. Alex understood this word to mean that she could tell people what to do, and they would listen. Once, when she told him he had to take a bath, he responded, ‘You’re not my choreographer,’ which had the desired effect of shocking her into a kind of marveling silence and therefore postponing, if only for another ten minutes, the bath.
She was a modern dancer. This distinction confused him. He asked his father about it.
‘It means she’s not a member of the Rockettes,’ he said.
One day, when he was seven, she told him that she would soon be having a concert.
‘What’s a concert?’ he said.
‘It’s when I perform in front of many people with my company.’
‘What does your company make?’ he said.
‘It’s a dance company,’ she said. ‘We make dance.’
‘Can people buy dance?’ he asked. At the age of seven he was demonstrating certain capitalist proclivities that had the effect of making his parents look at him with concern, as though he might be coming down with a fever.”
From The Sleep-Over Artist, by Thomas Beller (all italics in the original). I seem to be on a Thomas Beller kick lately and found the passage rather amusing; thought I’d share. I used to take Flamenco lessons at Alex’s mother’s studio, by the way. I think anyway… unless Steps used to be up at 89th Street…