Nutcracker Rehearsal #2

I entered the dance studio this evening to find Mr. Tembo sitting alone in the lobby, his reading glasses poised at the tip of his nose as he punched various digits into his smartphone with a stylus. He glanced over the rim of his glasses and met my eyes, “Oh, here we are…. At last.” I was twenty-five minutes early.

Mr. Tembo is originally from Nambia (I believe) and can be adequately described as jolly and delightful. He even has a twinkle in his eye.

“You know,” he said to my daughter, “your mother is the BEST dancer. And quite a funny one, too.”

“Thank you, Mr. Tembo,” I told him. “That’s much too kind of you.”

After several minutes, the other “adult party guest” dancers (there are a total of 16 of us — 8 couples) wandered in, including Mr. Lee.

Mr. Lee is the tallest man in the group, with gray hair and a well-rounded belly. It took him all of sixty seconds to find a chair beside me and nearly stick his finger in my ear, just to annoy me. I caught onto him just in time to avoid such activity, at which point he noted, “Hey, I enjoyed seeing you in ‘The Wizard of Oz’.” This would be because of our size difference. He thinks I’m munchkin-like.

“You’ve been waiting all week to say that to me, haven’t you?”

He had to stop himself from laughing to respond, “Yes!”

I rolled my eyes demonstrably at him. Later, during our rehearsal, when I was standing in my stage position ahead of him, he joked, “Down in front!” as though he couldn’t see over me. This is his endless idea of humor.

Let’s see… what else?

Oh! We have a new “Mrs. Stahlbaum” in this year’s production. Mrs. Stahlbaum is the matron of the house (Clara’s mom) where the holiday party is being held. The rest of us are portraying her Victorian-era party guests. Anyway, as I was saying… this year, we have a new Mrs. Stahlbaum because the studio hired a new ballet teacher and she has been assigned the role. Her name in real life is… (umm)… Marcela.

In other news….

My dance partner does appear to have a sense of humor, as it turns out. I can’t recall what it was he said to me at one point, but whatever it was, we both doubled over laughing. He also laughs at me when I end up dancing behind the bookcase (stage prop). He likes getting rid of me off stage, it seems. And he likes to splash his pretend glass of champagne on me when we’re supposed to be toasting each other.

“Dahhhling,” I said to him as the artistic director started up the music for our dance on her iPad, “I’m thinking we should be summering in France next year. What do you think?”

“I think it’s time we daaance,” he told me as the music ushered in our cue.

Nice to see he is starting to get into character. Sort of.


So far, so good… I guess.

All things considered.



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