A Dream about Nureyev

Nureyev at the barre - Balletomanehk - www.balletomanehk.comFour years ago, I saw Rudolph Nureyev in my dream. In it, I was teaching him how to do port de bras (geez, does he need any help?!) . We were talking French. At the end of this dream sequence, I said “ta den” (take this) in Swedish to him (referring to his arm), and he repeated these words in a sexy voice and then moved his arm in a most graceful manner! Hardly do I have dreams as vivid as that!

Thanks to Facebook, which gave me a reminder of what I wrote in my status on the same day four years ago, I can now savor this sweet dream 😉 I also dreamt of Yuan Yuan Tan one time, but I will share it in another post later. Have you ever dreamt of a ballet dancer? Or do you mostly see yourself dancing in your dreams? I’ve had quite a few of those myself—in which I was able to perform some feats that I normally aren’t able to in the waking state, such as 10 pirouettes landing in 4th. Of course I have also had less pleasant dreams… such as thisthis and this. Please share with me your ballet dreams—if you remember them!

A Ballet Dream… Full of Regrets


I had another ballet-related dream last night–very vivid, probably due to the approaching full moon.

I saw myself riding a bus to get to a place where I would attend a dance audition. The bus passed by a building with a red, old-fashioned script of “YMCA” on it. I pointed out to the person next to me–apparently my husband–and told him that this was a colonial building left behind by the Brits.

Then I arrived, alone, to this gigantic place where there were three huge studios. I walked through the first one, and upstairs to the next. The studio had a high ceiling and portable barres sparsely placed. The space must have been at least 3,000 square feet or larger. It looked like an old horse stable turned into a studio. The surrounding had a rural feel.

A handful of dancers were warming up and stretching before the audition began. I saw a woman doing a complicated movement in a corner. She was dressed in black from head to toe. I felt intimidated and decided that this class would be too advanced for me.

So I walked further to an outdoor “studio,” where I found ballet barres set up on a piece of red mud/sand ground, much like the kind of tennis court ground you’d find in the French Open.  I thought, “How am I supposed to dance on this kind of floor?” while using my right foot to draw circles in the sand, trying to imagine how it would feel like when I had my canvas ballet slippers on.

There was a man standing in a corner, facing a group of dancers who seemed to be getting ready to dance. He looked authoritative, and reminded me of Peter Martins of the New York City Ballet. He must be the ballet master, I thought. So I went up to him and asked if I could join this group for the audition. He nodded his head and signaled me to go join the dancers.

Before long, the ballet master gestured the dancers to start dancing. I was in my leotard and ballet slippers whereas the other dancers, mostly black and Hispanic, were dressed in glamorous and glittery costumes with big feathery headpieces, much like the dancers in a Brazilian carnival. I was confused. Some unfamiliar music was played… some sort of dance music but certainly not classical. The dancers started to dance in unison while I, being the odd one out, didn’t really know what to do as none of the steps were familiar to me. So I started to do my own modern ballet concoction to get through the music. Boy, it was hard! I felt embarrassed and it seemed like the three-minute piece of music would last forever.

At last, the ordeal was over, and I left the studio with my head down. I regretted having changed studio. I regretted not having taken a proper ballet class in the more decent studios indoors with the other ballet dancers. After all, when would I have a chance again to dance in such a gigantic ballet studio? As I left the place, I walked past the wings of a theater. On the stage, I saw my best ballet buddy, dressed in tutu, waiting for her performance to start. Seeing that I had no part in the ballet, I left, feeling bummed out.

I woke up to the sound of torrential rain beating at my windows, remembering every bit of details of my dream, understanding fully what had been released from my subconsciousness… then, lazily, I drifted into another dream.


My Non-Dancing Dream

"The Rehearsal of the Ballet Onstage" by Edgar Degas

“The Rehearsal of the Ballet Onstage” by Edgar Degas
The Metropolitan Museum of Art


I had a dream last night, in which I saw myself standing in the dark wings of a theater stage, watching my adult ballet friends and a bunch of kids dressed in tutus rushing by, getting ready for a performance. There was an old lady watching over the dancers. She must have been the teacher. I was dressed in casual clothes and felt invisible, sidelined and useless. “When can I dance again?” I thought in silence.

Following that sequence in the dream, I saw myself sitting in a classroom attending a course. I realized it was Saturday–and there usually was a ballet class in the evening. But I heard myself thinking, “I’ll take it easy and skip the class.” Turned out there was no class scheduled after all, and I felt a sense of relief!

Well, I think this dream reflects my physical and mental state perfectly. In my heart I really long to dance and perform again, yet my body isn’t ready. I need to wait it out until the internal scars of my surgery have properly healed. Yes, I do feel a tiny bit of frustration, as I my limbs are stiff and my arabesque is only at a pitiable 25 degrees! But at the same time I also feel patient. I have never felt this patient before in my life. I trust the body’s self-healing ability and will let Nature do its marvelous work.

In the meantime, I’ll continue to dance in my head, and in my dream.

P.S. One night I actually dreamed of doing a super pirouette–10 turns and a perfect finish in 4th!

Conversation with a Ballet Kid

Eleanor A couple of years ago, I was taking class at a dance studio where I got to know quite a number of kids.

One day we were rehearsing for a school recital, and I was warming up outside the rented studio by doing some barre exercises while holding onto a bookshelf.

A girl called Eleanor, upon hearing the music I was playing on my mini speaker, came to me and asked what I was doing. Then very quickly she installed herself behind me, holding onto a lower layer of the bookshelf, and tried to copy my exercises. When we came to the rond de jambe exercise, I asked if she had done that before. She said “no.” After doing the right side, we turned around, and I observed that she was already able to pick up all the movements and do them on the left side.

We were both getting sweaty after a while and it was obvious that she was enjoying this warm-up a lot. She said to me, “I think Miss X will be super happy that we come into the studio well-prepared!”

What a pearl she is! Then suddenly, she asked me: “What kind of work do you do?”

“I’m an editor.” I replied.

“Oh, are you not a dancer?”

“No,” said I, with a tiny hint of a smile on the edge of my lips. While a kid may not be able to discern the difference between a professional dancer and an amateur one like me, the innocent question nonetheless represented a kind of flattery in my mind.

“Why not?” she inquired, wide-eyed.

“Well… It’s too late,” I told her, knowing that this was not really a satisfactory answer, neither for her nor for me. But what else could I have said? That I had found my passion too late in my life to be able to develop it into a profession? That my parents had not truly acknowledged my love for dance and encouraged me to pursue it? That academic studies took precedence over every other hobby that I had in my childhood, so that all my artistic dreams fell by the way side? That if I were to live my life all over again, I would make sure I follow my heart and insist on pursuing my artistic dream, no matter how hard it might seem to be?

It was time to go into the studio and start the rehearsal. I watched Eleanor dance the pas de trois in The Nutcracker with a sense of excitement and joy, seeing how she had improved over just a few months’ time, and secretly wishing in my heart, that she would be able to live out her dream and her joy to the fullest—no matter what life brings her.