Olga Chickaboomskya, Prima Ballerina

I have been surprised to see Spanish TV ads (not many) for Halloween and also some stores in Sevilla carrying costumes and decorations.  I don’t know if kids actually go around trick-or-treating, but I guess we’d better buy a bag of our favorite candy just in case.  If no one shows up, we’ll just finish it all ourselves (we’ve done it before and, although it’s a hardship, we will do it again if we have to).

When we lived in Connecticut, Jerry and I were invited to a costume-required Halloween party.  Poor Jerry loves costume parties.  I say “Poor Jerry,” because he’s married to someone who does not share his love for costume parties.  I tried — a little — that one time.  I had found a devilish Venetian mask years before and decided to take it off the shelf and build a costume around it.

Jerry is a huge fan (as am I) of the Ballet Trockadero de Monte Carlo, a brilliantly talented and hilarious all-male ballet troupe that dresses in drag and performs and parodies the ballet classics.  We have seen them perform several times.  Inspired by Les Trocks, Jerry decided to go to the party as Olga Chickaboomskya, retired Russian prima ballerina.

One day Jerry left his office at Yale University, wearing a very serious gray suit and very serious silk tie, and headed over to the very serious dance supply store.  He said to the three women who worked there, “OK, you have one hour to make me look like a prima ballerina.”  I’m sure this was a first in 1980s New Haven.  The women immediately loved him.


They started with the tights.  They actually had his size — well close.  The leotard was, amazingly, no problem.  And the largest tulle tutu just fit around his waist.  The ballet slippers were a challenge.  Jerry wore a size 13; the slippers only went up to 12.  But he figured he wasn’t really going to dance and he wouldn’t be on his feet very long, so he would manage.  He finished with a feather boa.


At K-Mart in our little town of Guilford, Jerry found $1 clip-on earrings with giant “rubies.” He bought Lee Press-On Nails.  Jerry has the biggest hands I have ever seen.  The fake nails didn’t completely cover as intended, so he had this odd little colored piece of plastic centered on each of his own nails.  He found a turban and a huge “diamond” broach he could pin to the front.  A friend loaned him a large Russian-looking cape.  When he returned from K-Mart, he tried on the clip-on earrings and one of the clips immediately broke.  He went right back to K-Mart and explained that the earring broke the very first time he put it on.  (The man has no shame.)  They gave him a replacement pair.


The fun truly began (well, and ended) when we got ready for the party.  Our friends Cesar and Daisy, who were not going to the party, came over.  Daisy was our designated make-up artist.


We set up a stool in the kitchen and Daisy went to work.

Cesar and I stood off to the side.  Daisy worked for a long time.

“Daisy, put more color on his eyes,” we coached.

A few minutes later, “Put more color on his eyes, Daisy.”

“I did!”

“Daisy, it’s not enough.”

“Close your eyes,” she ordered as she slapped Jerry on the shoulder.

Jerry did so and we saw vivid, sky blue upper lids.

“Now open them.”

He did so and we saw no color at all.

She complained, “His eyes are so damned deep-set, you can’t even see the make-up!”

“Spread it outside and above his eye lids,” we instructed. “Make it really obvious.”

“But that would be tacky,” she said… and then burst out laughing at the inanity of that statement.

She slathered on more and more of her expensive make-up — heavy lipstick, a beauty mark, heavy blush.  None of it was really easy to see.  I knew Jerry was a hunk, but I had never appreciated how heavily masculine his features were.  There was nothing pretty about him (well, except that the blue eye shadow really brought out his sky-blue eyes).


But he stood, posed, and the vision was complete.


I was so uncomfortable being in costume that I wouldn’t even drive the 15 minutes into New Haven.  I made Olga get behind the wheel.  He had to shift gears while being careful not to knock off a Lee Press-On nail.  The party was a bit of a bust.  Jerry eventually removed his ballet slippers; it took 10 minutes for his toes to unbend.  He spent much of the remainder of the evening complaining that he couldn’t wait to get out of “these damned panty hose.”


I wished we had stayed home with Cesar and Daisy.  Maybe the whole thing would have been more fun had I had a better attitude.  But I don’t think so.

I am so glad no one has invited us to a costume party this year.

Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

30 thoughts on “Olga Chickaboomskya, Prima Ballerina”

  1. Kristi:
    Jerry had a ball planning and getting ready and I have a great time now when I look at the pictures (and remember what fun it was with Daisy and Cesar).

  2. Hello Mitch:
    well, this tale of blue-eyed ballerinas and ill fitting shoes had us really laughing. Yes, Poor Jerry!!!

    We must confess that we should be in the fancy dress avoidance group and, coupled with our dislike of all things Halloween, this is not our favourite holiday season by a long way.

    Still, such fun to look back upon it all and perhaps you may need the bag of sweets after all, so good to be prepared!

    We have never seen the Trockadero de Monte Carlo but so enjoyed your little film of them in action. We did think that Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake was wonderful!

  3. Highlarious! I always have good intentions when it comes to costumes but no follow through. This year I was told by the host of the only Halloween party that I go to, to either come in costume or be prepared to be in my underwear, so I've decided to go in my underwear but to wear a longish overcoat, dress shoes and dark socks and be a flasher. Also I'm gonna put candy in the pockets of the coat and simply be creepy. "You want some candy, little boy?"

  4. J&L:
    I don't at all like Halloween (although I DO like carving pumpkins). But, I sometimes wish I could relax and let loose in a costume. I have great costume inspirations but that's as far as it gets.

    If you have the chance to see Les Ballet Trockadero de Monte Carlo, I highly recommend it. They are not just funny, they are also highly trained and exceptionally talented.

  5. Writer:
    I love your costume idea. I would enjoy that one … until I had to wear it into the party! But, I have a feeling you'll have them all eating out of your hands.

  6. Fred gets all into dressing up too. Not me! But I must say that you both look great. I would add that you two are dressed like Americans for Halloween.
    Your Friend, m.
    p.s. Congrats on Jerry's big hands. You must be very happy. m.

  7. Mark:
    Funny, I thought you would enjoy costume parties.

    I forgot: Jerry and I did host a small Halloween party one year in Guilford. The theme was "Come as your favorite work of art." Jerry and I were parts of a still life. He had a rubber banana mask and I had a rubber grapes mask. We were, therefore, a couple of fruits.

  8. Better save those treats till 11/11, we in NL have St Martin's Day on that day and kids come trick-or-treating then. [catholic fest and mostly islamic kids who come for the sweets].

    Better check with your Sevillian friends what's done on Halloween.

  9. Kristi:
    Some great really long stuff on youtube that I thought would be too much to include here. I'm so glad you found it. (And I agree, what DID we ever do before the www?!?)

  10. Peter:
    If we have any candy left over 11/11 (HA!), I'll send it to you. The few friends we have here are unaware of anything Halloween related (so probably not necessary to buy those treats).

  11. I alternate every year between a Victorian mourning gown and yes, a witch. One problem: my daughter is now 12 and this will be her last year trick or treating (she is going as Lady Gaga in her meat dress and yes, it is a hard costume to pull off….) so next year, I am on my own. My partner isn't a costume person. I will probably dress up just to hand out candy because I freakin' love the mourning gown and I must say that I look good in it. I think I had another life in the Victorian era because I can truly pull the look off. But, yes…your partner outshines me in every way. THAT is dedication to the art of costuming.

  12. Maria:
    Thanks so much for stopping by. My mother dressed as a witch one year to hand out candy when I was about 4. The first time she opened the door, a neighbor girl burst into tears. My mother never did it again. I would LOVE to see the Victorian mourning gown!

  13. So much beauty, so much potential, so much culture all for a party – Broadway could be waiting for you! I found this just one silly giggle – GREAT LAUGH. 🙂

  14. Hi! When I first clicked and the page popped up and I saw the first photo, I thought you took me up on the idea to recreate that baby photo where everything was White…for a second.

    J is too butch, you can't wear press-on nails with arms like that! LOL

    You Handsome DEVIL!
    Have a happy halloween!

  15. Loved this! You guys look great!
    We used to 'dress up' back in the day……I was one homely gal! But I tried! Ron always made a great MONSTER. So much fun.

  16. Hahaha I love these pics. I went to a murder mystery dinner once and my character was a female socialite but I ended up looking like Lady GaGa's older, uglier sister…

  17. well you already know I love halloween and costumes 🙂 Both yours were brilliant, what a handsome couple you are…maybe one day I can change your mind about the costumes 😉

    hugs Mr.B 🙂

Please share your thoughts...

%d bloggers like this: