Monday, June 1, 2020

On My Toes

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo
Today’s “Not a Civilian?” selection inspired me to retell this story.

One of my first girly moments was related to the ballet. When I was 5-years-old, my mother enrolled my younger sister and I in a dancing school. My class had about 15 girls and one other boy. Once a week, we practiced tap and ballet for an hour under the tutelage of young female instructors.

I have no idea why my mother enrolled us at dancing school. I could understand enrolling my sister, but why did she immerse me, her only son, in that world of femininity? It certainly was not going to make a man out of me. Maybe she detected the girl in me and thought that I would enjoy participating in such a girly activity. If that was her plan, she was correct. I enjoyed every minute of it!

I loved learning dance and being treated like the other girls. The young instructors became my role models. I even recall dreaming (both day-dreaming and sleep-dreaming) about dancing as a ballerina, wearing a pink leotard, tutu, ballet shoes, and makeup with my long blond hair put up in a pony-tail.

In the spring, we had a dance recital. It was held at the Loew's Poli Palace theater in Waterbury. “Registered as a National Historic treasure, the Palace's elegant lobbies, crystal chandeliers, gold detailing, almost 3,500 seat capacity auditorium, along with its Broadway-sized stage, make this the largest seating capacity theater of its kind in all of New England” when it was built in 1922 (Source: Cinema Treasures). So my first appearance on stage was big time!

Since we were appearing on stage, we had to wear makeup. My mother was my makeup lady, but she knew bupkis about stage makeup. So when she applied our makeup, she made my face up just like my sister's face – lipstick, rouge, eyebrow pencil, eye shadow, mascara – the works! Although I was wearing a boy's costume, I had the face of a girl!

Due to tight family finances, we only took dance classes for one year, but that one year immersion in femininity left a life-long impression on this girl.

Source: Venus
Wearing Venus

Vancleave High School
V is for Vancleave High School in Mississippi where this pretty ballerina tip-toes.

Professional femulators advertisement from 1969
Hard to believe! (Professional femulators advertisement from 1969)


  1. What a lovely story! I never took up ballet and always regretted it but I do love watching it!

    Life is a Shoe

  2. Memories. I worked for SDS/XDS for several years from 1969-1974. We always had a booth at the Spring/Fall Joint Computer Conference and our sales region was in charge of the Spring event, which was at Bpardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. We stayed in some fleabag hotel a few blocks away -- within 2 blocks of The Paddock. My Drag friends at The Gold Key Club in the DC area told me about The Paddock and I made my first visit in 1969 and again in 1970 and 1971. The Conference would close down about 8pm and we'd head out to eat, and "whatever". I'd get into something not so business-like after dinner and head to The Paddock. I remember a stunning Drag Queen named Kenny Kerr who, it turned out, was just in her mid-teens. Some years later I saw her in a show in Las Vegas. Not quite Club 82, but the show was far better than anything we had back in DC. There were a couple other Drag clubs in town, but why go to them when I could watch Kenny Kerr at The Paddock??

  3. I love the Trocs! There's a long story about how I got to see them many years ago. Let's just say one of my customers -- the 'husband' of a lesbian couple -- talked me into going to the ballet with her and her wife. She said they were really funny. I HAD NO IDEA IT WAS AN ALL-MALE BALLET TROUPE! I laughed so hard my sides hurt! I've been a fan for the past 35 or so years. I haven't missed a DC performance in at least the last 25+ years. If it's humanly possible go to one of their fabulous performances. You'll be glad you did.

  4. I agree with MikkiB - although I've never seen them live, I have always enjoyed The Trocs. What a wonderful Girls Night Out it would be. And they also inspired me at a young age. I am an actor and I adore comedy, so this was the trifecta for a young lad interested in his mother's wardrobe.

  5. The memories we made, the memories we cherish...

    While I never had the good fortune to take ballerina lessons, my first feminine article of clothing was a one-piece, criss-cross back blue leotard, that also could have easily been worn as a swimsuit. I was 10 years old and rode my bicycle the 12 or so miles, one-way, to the J.C. Penny's store in our local town. I walked around the store for hours, trembling with fear and afraid to make the purchase. I came back to that area of the store time and time again until I finally overcame my (unwarranted) fear to purchase it, which I wore every single time I had the chance to do so. Needless to say, that cemented what I knew to be true: I truly did possess a feminine mind!
    P.S. The sales clerk never said a word nor have any in a long lifetime of shopping en femme. In fact, more compliments are given for what I am wearing or wardrobe choices than any negative comments to me!

  6. BTW - here's the trailer for the documentary about The Trocs

    1. Julie, I love this film, and I bought a copy -- it's in my COVID-queue to watch! But I'm a little sad about part of it. Chase Johnsey, a really, really talented ballerina chose to express his female side more openly. But the Trocs advertise themselves as MEN who are ballerinas, so he was given the choice of not presenting female or leaving the company. Chase was always the highlight of their performance and they haven't been to DC since the departure. They'll still be superb, but I'll miss seeing my favorite ballerina.
      Check this short film by ELLE about Chase Johnsey. You'll get an idea about how good he is:

  7. Dear Stana,

    Count me in as another TROCS lover. I saw them once in St. Petersburg, FL many years ago.



  8. Stana

    I never has ballet lessons, however a good many girls in my class did. On ballet day they always wore their leotards and tights with a skirt and got to leave 5 minutes to walk the dance school two blocks away. I remember being so jealous, and would dream of somehow being asked to joined some how.