“Spot your head in the pirouette!” “More demi-plié!” “Higher grand jeté!” I can hear the instructions in my head even before Sarah-Jane calls them out. While I understand the language of “woof,” the world of dance speaks to my soul. I am Menlowe Ballet’s beloved company canine and the studio dog of Menlo Park Academy of Dance. I’m named after Florence Nightingale, from Menlowe Ballet’s The Lady with the Lamp, which premiered in the spring of 2018. However, there’s a bit of mystery surrounding my own debut. I was found in the streets, alas, with no tag or chip. I’m ever so grateful that I was brought to Tony LaRussa’s Animal Rescue Foundation (arflife.org), where Sarah-Jane and Michael “discovered” me in September 2018. My exact age isn’t known, and the best guess is that I’m a Maltese, Coton de Tuléar and Terrier mix. Whatever the blend, my family and dance friends say I’m 12 pounds of sweet, loving, playful perfection. I sit on a special mat at the front of class (it even has my name on it!), but I also get to share the spotlight too. My resume includes more than a dozen Nutcracker performances, and I always get rave reviews from my fans. Wait, did you hear what Sarah-Jane just said? “Grand allegro!” The big jumps! That means class is almost over and dinner will come soon.
Photos by Robb Most