Circling around above the bay, like a dance of ballet. They soar, they dive, as they glide in the flow of the wind.
Dancers have a common interest, they like to dance. Apart and together. Whatever the dance, it is movement. An expression of self and spirit. But there is something unique about a ballet dancer. It’s a love of grace and beauty, and discipline. Theatrical, yet very athletic. They practice their art to perfection.
What do the seagulls have in common with dance, the ballet? It’s movement. But they are birds in flight. They have the ability to glide effortlessly across the sky. Again, it’s movement, a disciplined coordinated dance of sorts. A free expression of self and spirit. They can fly together or apart. Something graceful about them, but it comes naturally with them. A movement, yes a ballet in flight.
“Welcome to ‘Ballet for the Birds.’ All of you have the ability to dance, to move with ease and grace. I will take you to new heights in flight. You will learn how to dance with class. I have observed many birds in flight, but seagulls can perform with grace and beauty. Naturally, you have the ability to move together in coordinated moves. In ballet, our moves are graceful, yet disciplined. A ballerina performs for art alone, but for a seagull, it’s for survival. By the end of this class, all of you will be able to perform a ballet in the sky. We can practice and perfect our art. As you can see, I am a seagull, too. By the way, I’m Petra, a prima ballerina of flight. You’re learning from the very best. You’ll see.”
“Ms. Petra, I don’t know anything about ballet, but I’m eager to learn,” said Angelina. “By the end of this class, you may become the prima ballerina in the sky. I’m so glad you’re eager to learn,” said Petra.
“Lady, I mean Ms. Petra, I’m Francois. Looking for a gull friend. Maybe one in here.” “You are so debonair. Just like a Frenchman, looking for love. We’re here to learn ballet first, maybe a girlfriend for you later,” said Petra with a wink of her eye.
“I’m Sofia, always wanted to dance in the sky. This seems to be the place for me.” “A very wise decision. You will dance in the sky with grace,” said Petra with a smile.
“May I speak? I’m Mikhail. Ballet is my forte.” “Oh my, with a name like that you are a cavalier of ballet. I look forward to dancing with you,” said Petra in an excited tone of voice with much interest in Mikhail.
“I need just one more ballerina, how about you Mademoiselle?” said Petra. “I’m awfully shy. I was told to come here to build confidence,” said Marie with a blush of her cheeks. I will spend time with you ’till you feel comfortable with dance. Ballet is an art form. Think ‘I am a ballerina’ and you are, just need to practice. I’ll make sure of it,” said Petra in a soft and encouraging voice.
“I need a man of confidence, you look self assured. Sir, how about you?” said Petra. “You got the wrong man. All I know how to do is circle around for fish. This is not me. I doubt I can do it, but I will try,” said Peter. “A positive attitude is what it takes to start. You already know how to circle for fish. I will teach you to circle in dance. That’s exactly what this class is all about, learning to circle in dance. No need to doubt yourself, you can do it,” said Petra with her head held high.
“Okay, now we have an ensemble of ballet. Are you ready to dance? Even haphazardly?” said laughingly by Petra. “We will have fun. I will show you how. I’ll see you at ten at the Academy tomorrow at mid morning. Be here at ten a.m.” said Petra.
“Good morning. I see you all are here. You are courageous and you will do well. Just follow my lead,” said Petra. “Any comments before we go up? Be positive, I’m listening.”
“I’m eager to learn,” said Angelina. “I will learn to dance first, but still eyeing for a gull friend,” said Francois. “Up, up and away. I’m ready to dance in the sky. So beautifully blue in the beam of the sun,” said Sofia. “I will lead. I’m the danseur of the ballet,” said Mikhail with insistence. “I know, but you must dance with the rest. All equally able. I know you want to be treated special, and you are, but you must dance together with the ensemble,” said Petra in an affectionate way. Marie said, “I’m a ballerina.” “You know, a circle of dance may be better than eyeing for fish, but I don’t think so. I must keep my eyes on you,” said Peter in a confident manner.
“Everyone sounds great. Upbeat and ready to fly. This morning we will do only one thing. We will fly up high and form a circle of dance. Just follow me and I will show you how. You will enjoy. All seagulls like to fly. Let’s go up. Follow me,” said Petra with exuberant energy up to the sky. All follow right behind. They reach the height set by Petra and she instructs them on how to fly in a circle.
“Here we are, just hover in place. I will demonstrate a circle for you, just watch,” said Petra. She flies around and around and around. “That’s how you do it. Now I want each of you to follow me. I will call your names.”
“Peter, behind me. Don’t take your eyes off of me. Angelina, behind Peter. Francois, follow behind Angelina. Think dance, dance, dance. Sofia, follow behind Francois. Mademoiselle Marie, get behind Sofia. Think ‘I’m a ballerina.’ That’s all you need to do. My cavalier, Mikhail, behind Marie. Now we have formed a circle. Circle around, and around, and around. A circle of dance. I will flutter and observe. Wonderful. A dance in the sky for sure. Three more rounds and we’ll fly down. One, two, and three. Marvelous!”
A slow descent to the ground. “This is truly amazing. All of you have done well. You followed my lead. You know how to dance in the sky. A dance of seagulls in perfect form. Tomorrow, here at ten a.m. We will try a little more to add to our dance. It’s called ‘drop down, rise up’ See you, my ensemble of ballet.” Petra departs and so do the rest.
The next morning. Another beautiful day. Clear blue sky with puffs of clouds and a brilliant morning sun. “Good morning. I see you all are here. Feeling more confident? I’m sure you do. Let’s rise up now to form a circle of dance in the sky. Same line up, follow me. Up, up and away!” All up in air and follow Petra’s commands. “Follow me, the same order. Peter, Angelina, Francois, Sofia, Marie and Mikhail. Circle, circle, circle around. Again. Circle, circle, circle around. One more time. Circle, circle, circle around.”
All birds move out of circle hovering in front of Petra.”This is our new move. It’s called ‘drop down, rise up.’ I need two other gulls to help me demonstrate. Mikhail and Francois. I’m in the middle. Okay, men, hover in place. I will hover with you. Stay in place and I will drop down and rise up. Watch everyone. I drop down and rise up back in formation with the guys. Now Mikhail, you’re in the middle. Drop down, rise up. Drop down, rise up. Bravo! Francois, in the middle, please. Drop down, rise up. Drop down, rise up. Very good to both of you. Now, everyone let’s form a circle again. Okay guys, drop down, rise up. Girls, drop down, rise up. Repeat. Very good. Repeat. Now, back in place as a circle. Marvelous! That’s it for today. A great performance.” All fly down to the ground.
Petra to all, “I am so proud. Perfect formation. A dance in the sky. One last move tomorrow. See you at ten,” said Petra. All leave with smiles, heads held high, and leave with a sense of confidence.
“Good morning, again. A beautiful morning to learn and perform. We are going to do an advanced move of ballet. It’s called ‘pirouette.’ It means to whirl around. A spin of the body. Let’s go up and I will demonstrate. I need to make one slight adjustment in order. I need a guy, then a girl. A guy, then a girl. A guy, then a girl. Let’s fly up and form a circle. Okay, follow me to circle around. In this order. Peter, Angelina, Francois, Sofia, Marie and lastly, Mikhail. Watch me. I will pirouette, roll over to the left, and return to formation with my head up. Watch again. Roll over to the left and back to formation with my head up. Let’s all try it together. Left wing down and around to the top. Left wing down and around to the top. Great. Now alternate moves. Girls remain in place in the circle. Ready. Guys, left wing down and around to the top. Roll over, left wing down and around to the top. Now guys remain in circle formation. Girls, wings down to the left and around to the top with your heads up. Left wing down and around to the top. We have just done a ballet in the sky. A dance of seagulls. See you down at earth.”
Everyone is excited. Chatter and hugs and cheers. “All hail to the queen. Our prima ballerina. Hooray, hooray, hooray!” “Here’s your dance certificates. Also, there is a coupon for the next advanced class. Fifty percent off. Next week, ten a.m. at the Academy.”
Petra thinking to herself. They’ve all done well. A little sloppy, but I couldn’t tell them that. New recruits for the academy. I can’t do this for nothing. Let’s see, six times fifty is three hundred dollars. Not bad for a one hour session.