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Madame Espinosa

When I was in London Studio Centre my first class for the week on a Monday morning would be with Madame.  The body will be rudely jolted into reality after the lull of a weekend right from barre-work.
She comes into class, 'marks' out the exercise with us on her filmsy heeled shoes. I often wondered if she will twist her ankle and hurt herself. Then she will say, "Prepare!" and the pianist tinkles away, whilst we try to wake some part of our brain to remember the sequence and try to make the exercise look a little like what she told us to do.
Some 2 1/2 or so minutes later, when I heave a sigh of relief toward the end of the sequence, she says.........."Repeat on demi-pointe!" I remember thinking to myself, 'Oh God! This can't happen! It's just too cruel for a Monday morning!' But then life is never fair. It's always cruel. Therefore, we endured and sweated and survived those years. Later on, when we got wiser, we sort of 'saved' a little energy to last out the demi-pointe bits.
Looking back, it was not cruel at all. In fact, those agonizing Monday mornings woke the body up and set the pace for the rest of the week. It jumpstarted the system. Also, at some point, I can't remember when, I decided it was easier to make sure I also do classes on Saturdays and Sundays. That way, I managed to keep Monday blues away.
Madame was also a very caring person. She understood that I was thousands of miles away from home. Those days, there were no internet, emails or cellphones. The only way to communicate was with the normal post or telephone. Telephones calls were expensive and on my first year there, my parents just moved to a new area where telephone lines were not set up yet. Madame would check on me periodically, asking me if I am alright and told me that I could always talk to her if I needed to. On my first Christmas break, she was so kind to find me a home to spend Christmas with. She said I must not spend Christmas alone. But I could not take up that offer because mum and dad missed me and sent me a ticket home for holidays.
Madame died in 1989 but the memories of her Monday morning classes will always remain.

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