so, for my third graders this week, i'm reading ballet of the elephants by leda schubert. it's about john ringling north asking george balanchine to choreograph a ballet for 50 elephants in 1942. balanchine asks igor stravinsky to compose the music and, voila, circus polka is written. no, seriously, it's a true story.
as i read the book i tell the kids that my favorite conversation of the day occurred between balanchine and stravinsky:
balanchine: "i wonder if you'd like to do a little ballet with me."
stravinsky: "for whom?"
balanchine: "for some elephants."
stravinsky: "how old?"
balanchine: "very young."
stravinsky: "all right. if they are very young elephants, i will do it."
seems sort of odd and random, doesn't it?
but i was mistaken about that conversation being the best of the day. turns out the best one happens after i finish reading. i'm showing the kids a photo in the back of the book of the 50 elephants performing the ballet; they're in tutus (yes, even the bulls) and have their front legs on the elephant in front of them all in a large circle around the circus ring. one of the boys raises his hand and asks, "are they humping?" i unsuccessfully suppress my laughter and tell him, "no -- weren't you listening? they're dancing!" and then, not a second later, another boy raises his hand and asks, "are they getting ready for war?" wtf?? "no! they're dancing!"
ah, boys ... only sex and fighting on their minds.