“Flap. Clop. Flap. Clop. Flap. Clop.” This is the sound made when a ballet slippers is coming off the foot of a chicken who is not really made to wear a tutu and ballet slippers. At least, it is what I heard the first time Blanche was dressed for ballet.
All chickens enjoy dancing, just not necessarily ballet dancing. It is Gracie’s dream to be a ballerina, and so we all support making her dream come true. She is quite beautiful in the ballet outfit I made for her.
Blanche can seem big and boisterous, and yet from the very beginning, she was gentle and forgiving with her hatchling mate, Pearl. No matter how noisy or annoying Pearl would get, Blanche was always kind to her and put up with all of Pearl’s silly and pestering ways.
As patient and long-suffering as Blanche has been with Pearl, she was not that way with herself the first time she put on her tutu and ballet slippers. For Pearl, it just came naturally because she loves the stage and performing.
If Pearl ends up looking silly, so much the better. She will just use it as an opportunity for a few laughs. But not Blanche. She may look like Pearl on the outside, but she is an entirely different chicken on the inside.
Blanche does not want to look silly. She is taller than any of the others, and that is really all of the attention she wants. She doesn’t even want that much attention…unless it means reaching up for treats before anyone else!
Her first time in a tutu and ballet slippers turned out to be an attention-getting disaster. She wanted so much to look and do like the others, to simply blend in with the rest, but it didn’t happen.
She just couldn’t move the way the ballet slippers wanted her to move, and the tutu got in the way so she couldn’t see what her feet were doing.
“Flap. Clop. Flap. Clop. Flap. Clop.”
At first she tried to ignore it and keep dancing. Then she tried to fix it with her beak while hop-dancing on one foot. It just kept getting worse, and all of the others had noticed.
This was more than Blanche could bear. She wanted so much to be like the others, but it just wasn’t happening for her. Although I was tempted to tell her “Get back in those ballet slippers and keep trying,” I knew in my heart it was not going to work.
“Hold it, Sweeties! Your Daddy needs to say something.”
Everyone stopped and looked at me, because we almost never stop in the middle of a dance. Blanche hung her head as if she was in for the worst reprimand ever…and no treats for the rest of her life.
“Blanche, Honey. This is all my fault. I should have realized your dancing talents are only hindered by ballet slippers. You are meant to be a free spirit, a natural dancer, or as the French say, ‘une danseuse aux pieds nus’ and we must honor that.”
The older girls all repeated back and pondered these new words, “Une danseuse aux pieds nus!”
“How wonderful!” Everyone exclaimed. “Totally brilliant! So very French! Oh là là!”
Blanche looked relieved, particularly because everyone was paying attention to me rather than the mangled ballet slipper just barely hanging from her foot.
“Sweetheart, if you don’t mind…and I know this is a terrible sacrifice to ask of you…but would you mind not dancing with ballet slippers until we can figure out how best to use your natural talents? We may need to order special ballet slippers for you and matching ones for the others…all of the way from Paris, France.”
Everyone was beyond excited. “Paris!”
They all looked ready to faint, especially little Emily. “France!”
“Why that is the absolute ballet capital of the whole world!” exclaimed Gracie who knew exactly what I was doing but didn’t let on. She just gave me a knowing wink.
So we all helped Blanche take her off her outfit and then we all danced barefoot, ‘aux pieds nus’ just like Blanche was made to dance. Though to tell the truth, I mostly just stood with my shoes off and watched while dancing in my heart.
Are there special ballet slippers made only in Paris, France which are designed specially for chickens? I don’t know. But I do know Love covers our inadequacies, all of the things we will never be able to do on our own. We are made to dance with Love.
My Life With Gracie taught me not everyone is made for a tutu and ballet slippers, but everyone is made to dance, even if only in their hearts.
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