Twinkle-Toes, acrylic on Masonite, 12.25 x 12.25
Elizabeth W. Seaver
Twinkle Toes, known as Mary Smith in her everyday life, was in a pickle. The dream part had been announced at Madame Featherwell's Ballet School where Twinkle attended ballet classes three times a week. She'd worked hard on her plies, her pirouettes were top class, and her smiles sparkled even when her toes smarted. It had all been worth it. She'd landed the role as the lead dancer of the white chocolate mint drops in the Christmas production of Santa Cardinal and the Three-Toed Stocking.
But, there was a fly in the meal worms. She must dance eight more performances, and her costume was too snug. Her shoes pinched her feet. And that night during a sold out performance her tights rolled all the way to her hips when she bent gracefully at the waist. She smiled and kept dancing, just as if the front row couldn't see the bulge. The eagle-eyed stage manager noticed.
“What are you eating, Twinkle Toes?” Mr. Flapdoodle fumed. “Lay off the chocolate-covered grubs, will you? The costume department told me they've already let out your costume once. There's no money in the budget for a new outfit for you, so I'm warning you; don't get any bigger!”
When her mother picked her up at the stage door, Twinkle sobbed out the whole story. “Mama, I'm so afraid Mr. Flapdoodle might cut me from the show and give Dilly Pinkfeather the part.”
Now, Esther Smith was a smart mama, and she knew that Twinkle Toes' expansion was a natural event. It was time for her daughter to grow, and there was nothing either could do to keep that from happening. On the other wing, she also had observed her chick's fluffy shape and doubted that she had the traditional ballerina silhouette, the long-legged stick figure of say, a flamingo or stork. But Twinkle Toes loved to dance, and her mama hated to squash those dreams. She searched for just the right words.
“You know,” Esther finally said, handing Twinkle Toes a handkerchief, “I'm a fair seamstress myself. Why don't you see about checking your costume out from the department after Sunday's matinee. I'll add material where it can't be seen. We'll buy new tights and shoes which you can break in during dance lessons this week.”
“Oh, mama, do you really think that will work?” asked Twinkle as her tears began to dry.
“Yes, I do. And more than that, I believe it is time for you to try that modern dance class you've been pestering me about for months. You're not getting too big too fast, Sweetheart; you're growing up. It's time for you to spread your wings and broaden your horizons. No too-small costume could ever contain all that is wonderful about you, Mary Smith!”
Mama kissed her chick good night.
Mary Twinkle Toes Smith danced joyfully about her bedroom, stopping every so often to practice her jazz wings in the mirror.