I’ll never be a ballerina. My feet are too flat, and my legs are too short. It’s true that I’m petite and have long, black hair—from my mother’s side. I have a long neck—from my fa­ther’s side. I’ll never be a ballerina, but I still want to dance. My friend, Bronwyn, has been dancing since she was three years old. And when I say dancing, I mean dancing. Every kind of dance. Ballet. Tap. Spanish. Irish. Almost every day after school, she’s dancing. Me? I just read about dancing. I go to the library, take out every book I can find about ballet, shut myself in my room, and dream.

Well, sometimes I do more than dream. I shove the jewellery box on the top of my dresser to one side, my comb and brush to the other side. I prop the book in the middle until it’s resting against the mirror. I turn on my CD player and put in my favourite CD—“Masterpieces of the Ballet”. I pretend I’m in a ballet class. I stare at the book, and try all the posi­tions—first position, second position, fifth position. Try to: turn out feet, heels touching, legs straight, back straight, arms out to the side—just like in the photograph. The girl in the pho­tograph looks back at me. Who am I fooling? I stare at myself in the mirror—a girl with big dreams and bigger thighs.

I did a search on the Internet—“Jewish” AND “ballerina”. All I got was some rabbi from Brooklyn talking about how Jews are supposed to be a model for the right way to live, and that we’re not supposed to control other people. Fat chance! My mom and dad are trying to control me! Eat more. Eat less. Ex­ercise more. Exercise less. Go out with your friends. Don’t go out so often. The only Jewish ballerina I’ve heard of is Maya Plisetskaya. (I wonder if that’s her real name?) But she’s more Russian than Jewish. Still, I think I’ll change my name to Maya.…

“Can a Jewish Girl Have a Fairy Godmother?”
© 2004 by Anne Dublin
Originally published in Parchment, 2004
All rights reserved.