Diary of a Mad County

SATURDAY, July 26 Ellen Lang and a handful of other locals are on stage as extras in this weekend's performance of Don Quixote by American Ballet Theater at the Orange County Performing Arts Center. While everyone else was assigned spots in the back, Lang, 42, from Portola Hills in Trabuco Canyon, was actually given an acting part that called for her to be front and center as the production began. "I said, 'Moi?'" We'd like to think she was given the honor for all the good works she does teaching dance and movement to seniors in Rancho Santa Margarita, Laguna Hills and Irvine, where she also teaches young kids. But she says no one asked her what she did—just told her what she was going to do, walked her through it and said they'd see her opening night. She did pretty well, except the time she was supposed to point at a dancer standing in the corner and when she did he wasn't there. And there was the time in dress rehearsal that her long, flowing wig got caught on a plant and she couldn't move. Besides that, gold. I saw her on Saturday and just assumed she was part of ABT, her acting being as consistent as the rest of the company—ballet acting falling somewhere between silent film and afterschool special. She said she was just thrilled to be that close to the action. "Just to be able to watch the dancers close up turning forever and then stop on a dime. I could just dream of turning two or three times. It takes your breath away." Not to mention your hair.

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