When I was nineteen I studied chemistry at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. All my friends had part-time jobs. So I got myself a side job in a studio for ballet. It also gave me an excuse for not doing my homework.
My job was simple – to play classical music accompaniment for young girls aged six and seven who were taking their first steps in ballet.
The work was boring. No matter how slowly I played, the teacher asked me to play even slower. This will give you some idea. But it was worse, trust me.
So I watched and learned while I played. I learned how to do the plie, retire, changement, pirouette and pas de chat. I wasn’t very good. Neither were they.
The type of music and the unbearably slow tempo were driving me crazy. To keep myself amused and awake I would break rhythm and throw in the odd syncope every now and then. This of course gave the girls some confusion. And for Yardena, the head of the studio, cause for consternation.
She called me to her office. “I have bad news and good news,” she told me. “The bad new is that you are fired.”
“And the good news?” I asked (getting fired was good news in and of itself).
Pas de chat
“The good news,” she said, “is that you apparently have an aptitude for jazz. “Go study jazz, you’ll enjoy it,” she said.
And I did.