sorry you fell off the stage cake

sorry you fell off the stage cake | movita beaucoup

For almost two decades, I told my students not to worry about falling off the stage. When you are little, and it’s your first ballet recital, that’s the sort of thing you think about. But I could confidently say: none of my students have ever fallen off the stage.

And then it happened.

sorry you fell off the stage cake | movita beaucoup

A dancer came to me before class one day and said: Jo-Anne fell off the stage last night. Seven perfect little words strung together, followed by the first retelling of Jo-Anne’s fall from glory.

Our dancers were performing at a senior’s centre. It was a national (folk) dance – always well received by the elder set. The stage was very small. Jo-Anne clipped something with her shoe – maybe another dancer’s foot – then stumbled right off the stage. Her fellow dancers didn’t stop dancing. Not surprising, as dancers are trained not to stop, no matter what. Not even if someone pitches herself off the stage face first. And then, despite almost breaking her face, JO-ANNE GOT BACK UP ON THE STAGE AND STARTED DANCING AGAIN.

sorry you fell off the stage cake | movita beaucoup

Over the next few years, I heard the story dozens of times. The tale, with its accompanying giggles, brought joy to many. Jo-Anne, both a dancer and faculty member with us, confirmed the details many times over. But though always delighted by her animated retelling of The Fall, I was sad. Sad that I had missed this milestone in my colleague’s dancing life.

sorry you fell off the stage cake | movita beaucoup

And then, a few months ago, a group of us received a message. The Fall had been recorded on video. The video was attached. We rejoiced. I watched that video 4.7 million times, laughing just as hard every time. And then Jo-Anne said I could share it with you. Because it’s pretty awesome.

{posted with permissions}

Now, should you wish to watch the video again, I’d suggest paying particular attention to the following details:

  • the dancers at centre stage who pause for a moment as they realize what is happening
  • the delightful sound the audience makes as Jo-Anne drops from the stage
  • the adorable “ooops” from the videographer
  • the camera pan to Jo-Anne on the floor
  • the dude who asks, “Hey, you alright?
  • Jo-Anne, running back to the stage – her arms, MY GOD, her arms

sorry you fell off the stage cake | movita beaucoup

I promised Jo-Anne I’d make her a cake to celebrate her achievement and this, the world premiere of The Fall. Because when you do something awesome, you should be rewarded with something special. A frosted crown edges the top of Jo-Anne’s celebratory cake – an homage to the traditional costumes and flowered crowns the girls wore on that fateful night. The poodles? Well, I added those because when Jo-Anne first joined our team, I referred to my youngest students as Little Poodles. The poodles are wearing custom tutus because, well, teeny-tiny tutus are the best. And the one poodle who has slipped down the side of the cake? That’s Jo-Anne. (Obviously.) She’s one of my most favourite Poodles ever.

sorry you fell off the stage cake | movita beaucoup

So, as some of you embark on a new year of school, ballet lessons or whatever new thing you might be trying, I hope you will hold this lesson close to your heart: keep going. Run awkwardly to the next challenge. Laugh when things go wrong. Be unique, filled to the brim with life, and take chances.

Also, when a stage is really small, maybe consider adjusting the choreography.

sorry you fell off the stage cake | movita beaucoup

sorry you fell off the stage cake | movita beaucoup

sorry you fell off the stage cake | movita beaucoup

sorry you fell off the stage cake | movita beaucoup


  1. Rock Salt on August 28, 2014 at 8:33 am

    There’s nothing I don’t like about this cake. The writing is glorious, much cooler than the standard flouncy script, and all those wee decorations in the border! Meep! And the expressions on the poodles faces. Hard to read – part concern, part bewilderment, part exasperation, part pride in their tutus.

    Jo-Anne, well done. So very well done. You’re a pro.

    • movita beaucoup on August 28, 2014 at 8:44 am

      This is an excellent summary of poodle expressions. You should be a judge at dog shows.

  2. Kita (@passthesushi) on August 28, 2014 at 8:33 am

    I cant bring myself to actually watch the video… Im terrified for Jo-Anne….

    And I am at the moment envious of your cake making skills…

    • movita beaucoup on August 28, 2014 at 8:43 am

      I just watched it again, and laaaaaaaaaughed…

  3. Liz on August 28, 2014 at 8:38 am

    What poise! Now what do I have to do to get you to bake me up one of these gorgeous cakes???? I think I’d really break my face if I fell off a stage :/

    • movita beaucoup on August 28, 2014 at 8:43 am

      Therein lies the problem, Liz. Jo-Anne had to fling herself off a stage to earn this cake. I guess you’ll have to come up with something equally dramatic. AND VIDEO IT.

  4. Jenni Field (@PastryChfOnline) on August 28, 2014 at 8:58 am

    Oh my God, those flipper arms! It’s like she was channeling someone from Happy (falling) Feet! I love this cake. I watched the video 5 times. I am yours, MB. Yours.

  5. Cheri on August 28, 2014 at 9:47 am

    This all could not be any more perfect.

    • movita beaucoup on August 28, 2014 at 12:49 pm

      Thank goodness for Jo-Anne’s powerful inspiration…

  6. chef mimi on August 28, 2014 at 9:57 am

    you are so freaking talented!!!

    • movita beaucoup on August 29, 2014 at 7:31 am

      Thank you!! xox

  7. Maureen | Orgasmic Chef on August 28, 2014 at 10:44 am

    OMG I can’t believe it was videoed. How cool is that. Anyone who flings herself off a stage like a rocket can hardly be called a poodle though. She was more like a greyhound.

    • movita beaucoup on August 29, 2014 at 7:34 am

      Maureen, I can’t even tell you how excited were to get that video. It was like EVERY HOLIDAY AND EVERY AWESOME THING THAT HAS EVER HAPPENED TO ALL OF US COLLECTIVELY ROLLED INTO ONE BEAUTIFUL GIFT. Or, to sum: it was as perfect as a greyhound wearing a sweater.

  8. Willow @ Will Cook For Friends on August 28, 2014 at 11:38 am

    I wish I knew someone who would make me a fabulous cake every time I fell on my face. Then again, I’m not a graceful ballerina, I’m more like a professional fall-on-my-facer, so I guess that would just be too much cake to be practical. Alas…

    • movita beaucoup on August 29, 2014 at 7:35 am

      Even a professional fall-on-her-facer has to provide video evidence in order to earn a cake, Willow. Use your head!

  9. natalie @ wee eats on August 28, 2014 at 11:41 am

    This cake is AMAZING. And Joanne handled that LIKE A CHAMP!!! I probably would have just laid on the floor defeated….. that was amazing. Now where do I get this cake?

    • movita beaucoup on August 29, 2014 at 8:05 am

      There’s no way I would have recovered from that fall. I would have crawled out the back door. As for the cake, you must do something epic, capture it on video, and then submit.

      I await.

  10. semiswede on August 28, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    Love the cake, love the story, love the poodles. I’m sadistically wishing the video filmed a bit more to the left, but happy for Jo-Anne that it wasn’t. The launch was traumatic enough, I’m sure.

    • movita beaucoup on August 29, 2014 at 7:40 am

      Jo-Anne described her landing (post launch) as being similar to “a turtle on its back.” I think the video just barely captures that, so I’m pleased. I feel like in future shows, we should have multiple cameras shooting from multiple angles just in case…

  11. Ruth Anne Henault on August 28, 2014 at 1:05 pm

    The audience chortles – some must have thought it was on purpose! (oh those ethnic dancers – always good for a laugh…;)) -she would have crawled up from the front had it been planned – how classy Not to! Lucky it was just a wee stage!

    • movita beaucoup on August 29, 2014 at 8:06 am

      So lucky! Imagine if there had been an orchestra beneath her! She would have landed in a tuba…

  12. thursday things | wee eats on August 28, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    […] of Canada – have you read Movita’s latest post? Because you really must. Not only did she make an amazing cake but you get to watch someone fall […]

  13. emmalina73 on August 28, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    Having spent the night sitting next to a birthing pig (and delivering one of them myself) this feels like the perfect thing to read. Run wildly, embrace what’s coming and when you fall, pop back up and keep on dancing. Love.

    • movita beaucoup on August 29, 2014 at 8:07 am

      I feel Jo-Anne might like me to add: when in doubt, eat candy. We are both firm believers in that sort of recovery program…


  14. Kerry Cooks on August 28, 2014 at 5:22 pm

    I love this. The sides of that cake are SO SMOOTH and perfect

    • movita beaucoup on August 29, 2014 at 7:37 am

      That’s the beauty of fondant! Sometimes. You know, when it doesn’t completely destroy you…

  15. Nandini b on August 28, 2014 at 10:34 pm

    I’d fall off a stage any day to get a cake as pretty as that one! 🙂 Many thanks for sharing the video and the story. xo

  16. Stephbo on August 28, 2014 at 10:46 pm

    I love how Jo-Anne just got back in line and finished LIKE. A. BOSS.

    This cake is gorgeous, and I love the detail of the oozed icing as the poodle Jo-Ann goes sliding down the side. Perfection!!

    • movita beaucoup on August 30, 2014 at 8:55 am

      Jo-Anne IS a boss. AND she does lots of funny stuff. Fingers crossed we capture more of it on video…

  17. DRutherford on August 28, 2014 at 10:47 pm

    Thank you Movita, you and Jo-Anne have made my month:)

    • movita beaucoup on August 31, 2014 at 8:32 am

      That video was too good not to share. Even with a Rutherford…

  18. cococakeland on August 28, 2014 at 11:24 pm

    i. am. DYING!!!!!!!!! you have the best blog EVER. i just laughed so hard at first the cake with the poodle falling off… and then watched the video… JO ANNE IS MY HERO! way to keep that smile glowing bright!! that is super champion behavior, getting back up on that horse! and damnit that cake is as beautiful to look at as it is funny! xoxo

    • movita beaucoup on August 30, 2014 at 8:56 am

      Thanks, lady! Jo-Anne is pretty legendary at the studio. Both for her heroic efforts and candy eating skills…

  19. Natashia on August 29, 2014 at 1:31 am


  20. Lan | morestomach on August 29, 2014 at 10:37 am

    everytime i make a complete mockery of myself, i think i will let you know, hopefully have video evidence of it, and i will request that you make me a sweet treat.

    • movita beaucoup on August 30, 2014 at 8:54 am

      Maybe just video yourself 24/7? Just in case…

  21. fred connors on August 29, 2014 at 10:40 am

    This is one of my favourites!

    • movita beaucoup on August 30, 2014 at 8:51 am

      I know what you’re thinking: I’ll never get a cake like this because I’m so damn good at everything I do.

      But should the unthinkable ever occur, I’ll be right there with a gluten-free cake.

  22. thekalechronicles on August 29, 2014 at 10:54 am

    What I like is the happy music that accompanies it all!

    • movita beaucoup on August 30, 2014 at 8:54 am

      It’s the BEST!! The costumes, choreography and dancing really is amazing. One day, I’ll post another video of their awesomeness. (Without stage drops.)

  23. Cravings of a Lunatic on August 29, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    As someone who falls down a lot I can totally appreciate this. I once fell at Art in the Park with two giant wooden garden stakes in my hands. I almost impaled myself in front of hundred of people. I did impale one leg though and had to limp out of the park with napkins tied around the wound with balloon string so there’s that. My kids were so proud.

    So Jo-Anne, keep on keeping on. If we can’t laugh at ourselves we can always count on our friends, family and ballet teachers to laugh at us.

    Movita thanks for posting this. It made my whole day. You complete me. But I hope I never fall down when you or someone you know has a video camera.

    • movita beaucoup on August 31, 2014 at 8:34 am

      This is exactly why I don’t go to parks. THEY ARE DANGEROUS. You complete me too – assuming you have a pantry full of snacks. If not, you only partially complete me.

  24. Kath the Cook on August 29, 2014 at 8:15 pm

    So very awesome and hilarious in every respect… and a powerful life lesson to boot. a beyond gorgeous cake. Is there anything you can’t do? Awed and we must have more.

    • movita beaucoup on August 31, 2014 at 8:34 am

      Thanks, Kath!! (And there will be more!)

  25. fred connors on September 1, 2014 at 1:30 am

    After eating gluten full in NYC, i need some gluten free STAT!!!

  26. Dana Staves on September 2, 2014 at 8:34 pm

    I love this post so hard. The cake looks beautiful, I love that you called your students Poodles (I used to call my college freshmen Cherubs, and that got weird looks until they got used to it), I love Jo-Anne for getting back up with a smile on her face, and I love your advice most of all: keep going. It’s the thing I need to hear, and remember, so often.

  27. Sandra R on September 3, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    This post is brilliant!! I hope you’re having fun with your blog now, because I love this post and would hate to think you would disappear from blogland! Thanks you so much! And the poodle slide tracks down the cake are perfect. And the poodle face with the little black eyes that seem to say “OMG! I cannot believe what just happened!”. Strong work.

  28. Patricia Groves Dobrowski on September 3, 2014 at 6:01 pm

    Not too proud to admit I totally lifted this border for a birthday cake I made this weekend. The humidity was not my friend, and my chocolate buttercream was not setting up stiff enough to do roses. Not quite as pretty when it’s all done in just chocolate, but you take what you can get. So you totally saved my rear end (and my cake) this weekend.

    • movita beaucoup on September 3, 2014 at 8:25 pm

      Yay! I bet your chocolate version looked mighty sophisticated. I’m all for monochrome cakes, and made two on the weekend! Glad to have inspired a rear-saving…

  29. shannon on September 5, 2014 at 8:45 am

    This cake has been nominated for several awards in my heart, and has won all of them. You should know as the recipient of these awards. They are:

    Best Cake Decorating – Text
    Best Cake Decorating – use of tiny animals and whatever that miraculous combination of things is around the outside there, i’m in love.
    Best Theme – Shame and Embarrassment
    Best Video – I mean, really. it IS.

    congratulations on your wins inside my heart.

  30. Megan on September 10, 2014 at 10:49 pm

    That is priceless.

  31. Karen on September 14, 2014 at 8:37 pm

    I have no idea how I stumbled here but OMG I haven’t laughed this much in a long time! You are a very talented cake designer and JoAnn is an awesome person for allowing you to spread this out to the world! Oddly enough my daughers falling off the stage wasn’t something I ever thought about when they were little. Tripping, falling, and taking everyone else down with them? Yes. Off the stage? No.

  32. Kristen from Wicked Goodies on December 10, 2014 at 7:38 pm

    Love this! The video made me laugh and this whole post rings true. It’s inspiring how the dancer gets back on stage and in the video, how the audience claps when she does. Isn’t it funny how the biggest mistakes in life – the most embarrassing moments of all – often end up being the most memorable stories we have to tell? Very glad to have just found your blog! Greetings from San Diego, California.

  33. Nancy on July 31, 2018 at 11:17 am

    This is the funniest thing I have read in a long time! I have tears streaming down my face. So great!

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.