The School of American Ballet is over, and Julian has finished classes at The Professional Performing Arts School (and graduated, as far as I know). Whoo hoo! It won’t be long before he takes off for Germany–under 2 months.
The end of all of this was a bit anticlimactic, to say the least. Once Workshop was over, that was it for SAB . A few more classes for Julian. As for PPAS–a few more classes, some work to hand in, then done. No graduation ceremony since Julian and the other dancers had opted not to attend; they said they knew no one at the school and didn’t want to participate. Julian said he regretted not graduating with his classmates back in Los Gatos–all that pomp and circumstance at a beautiful school. The ceremony happens on the front lawn.
In preparation for his new life, we decided to let him test his wings in New York City for 10 days while living with his sister in Brooklyn. He wanted to take some time off–just dance a few times and hang out with friends. Then he traveled to Missouri to visit his brother (my husband’s son from his first marriage) and his grandmother (my husband’s mom)–again a small fluttering of his wings. Then he’ll come home for a week prior to starting the San Francisco Ballet summer intensive. (He arrives on July 2.)
The time in New York was “fairly” uneventful. He took classes at Steps on Broadway, going to see his favorite teacher and mentor, Wilhem Burmann. Willy had attended the SAB Workshop; we purchased him a ticket. He, of course, said there were some things he wanted to “fix” before Julian left. So, he did…or I think he did. He took 4 classes.
Julian said the harder floor at Steps actually seemed better for his ankle than the soft very giving floor at SAB. The ankle has never been 100% since December or January since first diagnosed with that tendon tear. The tear seems to have either healed or resolved itself to where it really doesn’t bother Julian, but he jammed his ankle several times causing some soft tissue issues. He’s been working with a chiropractor and a physical therapist to heal this up, and it’s much better now. (Two weeks off should help it heal the rest of the way. Plus, he has massage and chiropractic visits scheduled at home. ) He said the hard floor allows him to control how he uses his legs, which is what the PT has asked him to do. He said the more giving floor, supposedly better for dancers, made this harder for him. Go figure.
So, while in NYC, he did handle appointments with chiropractors, PT and even his psychiatric nurse practitioner. He and his sister hopped an early Sunday morning Shortline bus to visit my mother an hour north of the city. And he got together with many friends. This produced at least one “problematic” issue at SAB, even though he was no longer officially enrolled there. I won’t go into the details. Suffice it to say that his story has him doing the right thing after the wrong thing and it not going over well at SAB (and some SAB students getting in trouble). There were a few other things he did while in the city (before and after SAB) I’d rather he hadn’t done, but it’s part of late teen life, I suppose. Ah, well. It’s a learning experience, too, this testing of wings. They flutter, they fly a bit, they drop to the ground. Sometimes they land on their feet. Luckily, he was already out of the nest.
Lack of planning caused some stress on the way out of the city…a rush to the “bag guy” on 7th and 14th right after a last ballet class at Steps to get a carry-on bag. But he made it to the bus and to the airport on time. He did, however, miss his connection…I won’t share all the details, except to say that girls are way more interesting than getting to a gate on time. Ah…more lessons learned as the bird flutters his wings, falls, and lands on his feet once again…and get’s to his destination just a few hours later than planned. (Mom, on the other hand, ended the day with a few more grey hairs.)
The cost of all this testing of wings? For mom and dad, quite a bit of money, actually. Almost three weeks of running around and having fun (after a few weeks or kind of doing the same at the end of the SAB year), amounted to a huge expense. Hopefully, he learned a bit about responsibility, organization and taking care of himself–and maybe managing money? (Doubtful.) Maybe he learned to appreciate his sister more. He got to see his brother, grandparents, whom he won’t see for…well…who knows how long, since he’ll only have a month off next year. Maybe he also grew up just a bit. He turns 18 this coming week.
Eighteen and going off to Europe in just over a month. And starting a job. Let’s hope by then his wings are stronger…strong enough to fly long distances without as much help. Although there’s always long distance calling and texting. It’s not so easy to pick a dancin’ boy up, dust him off and get him flying again long distance, though. Sigh.
Photo courtesy of Jo Naylor