Scene4 Magazine: Claudine Jones
Claudine Jones
That is Not What I Do

I've been cast in any number of shows based in part on my abilities as a dancer—especially Grand Hotel the Musical, when I got back on toe after twenty years. Through three months of rehearsals, and yoga and ballet classes at Shawl-Anderson in Berkeley again, (right down the street from UCB where I also attended Ronn Guidi's classes in 1970), and five weeks of performances, I never once injured myself.  Yet how many times have I cursed my leg-to-torso ratio? Done! Finished. Sylvia Leap, if you are out there, I say to you unequivocally "You can have your perfect dancer's body! You can have Frank Hay! I no longer care." 

The ubiquitous 'lose belly-fat' internet ads no longer even register in my sightline.

Something amazing is happening. Obviously  there are many categories under which 'amazing' might fit—clothes, sex, fingerpaintings—however this is 'happening', so that qualifies it as ongoing. (Sex can be ongoing, just usually has peaks & valleys). No, this is earthshaking. God, I keep going back to sex imagery. Let me be clear: this is not in the realm of the physical.

I had a hint of this maybe a couple of years ago when out of the blue I realized that (wait, here it comes again…)  the definition of masturbation I read in my dad's old 1932 Webster's was not exactly current. I've made fun of that definition many times, but I truly absorbed the functional aspect just recently. When my mom stopped me in the hallway once when I was about 16 and said 'you know, masturbation is okay, as long as you don't, uh, do it too much…' , of course I was flabbergasted. A, I didn't know she knew and B, how much is too much?  That dictionary was no help; it talked about 'self-pollution'.

Enough with the sex! Although, I should finish what I was saying; I've made peace with the old me that harbored a connection with what mom & dad, perhaps inadvertently, passed on to me (certainly my mother would remonstrate, since she is the one who told my grandmother NEVER to slap my little brother's hand again if he touched his wee-wee in the bathtub. My dad just said 'sex is overrated'.) The new me is sublimely comforted by the ownership of my body—truly—which leaves out God, parents & Webster.

Now to the sincerely un-physical. Which is actually scarily concrete. Even though at this moment I have the last bit of a cold—mild cough, some 'moo-cus', as my grandson calls it—I'm feeling (knock-on-wood) pretty darn good in most ways. My toes are very cozy in the new not-made-in-china wool slippers I bought, I've got a splendidly ergonomic chair (better be, I spend enough time in it watching streaming episodes—yikes! That is so addictive). I could definitely, and should in fact, take advantage of my partner's birthday gift of a massage, but I'm scared of massage therapists. I can never say 'ow, that's too much' or 'could you do more of that', so I'm a bit hopeless on that score. I'm sad to say that a three year old was able to pin me, but he's a big boy & I was already flat on my back, luckily on the carpet, but seriously pinned; it was lovely, but took my breath away.

I have begun to forgive myself. 

I am bullet-proof.

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©2011 Claudine Jones
©2011 Publication Scene4 Magazine

Like an orthopedic soprano, Actor/Singer/Dancer Claudine Jones has worked steadily in Bay Area joints for a number of decades. With her co-conspirator Jaz Bonhooley, she also has developed unique sound designs for local venues. She's also a Senior Writer and columnist for Scene4.
For more of her commentary and articles, check the Archives


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June 2011

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June 2011

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