Ballet became a part of life when I was two and a half years old when my mom signed me up for classes at The Studio. I looked forward to going to ballet class every week, and I even remember sitting in art class at my preschool and thinking about dance later that afternoon. After all, I loved putting on my costume, seeing my wonderful teacher, and dancing with my friends! My teacher Miss Bernie really made each class so much fun. She was so young, beautiful, and graceful, and all of her little dancers thought the world of her.
The smallest little events stand out to me, like her taking roll with her teal Papermate pen, drumming her fingernails on the wooden floor, teaching us to count in French, and telling us about how important the magic number eight was to ballet. She even gave us stories to envision as we were sitting in a circle stretching, drew pictures in chalk on the studio floor for us to leap over, and let us dress up in our old recital costumes on special days of the month. Everything she did for us truly made us feel like special ballerina princesses (how every little girl wants to feel), and I really think that she was the one who started my love of ballet. However, it wasn’t until later that I became immersed in the art because the older I got, the more I learned and appreciated.
I actually remember the exact time that I became focused on becoming as much of a ballet dancer as possible. At that time, in the Junior Company, we were Frost Fairies rehearsing for the Snow Scene of that year’s Nutcracker. I remember noticing how beautiful the steps looked when Ms. Kathy danced them and how, when I compared myself to her in the mirror, my dancing looked… different. From that moment on, I really tried to notice how that elegance was achieved, instead of just listening to the choreography that we were supposed to do.
After years of working toward this grace and beauty and still working toward the more that is possible, I’ve felt what it’s like to truly dance— to feel the beauty, to come in contact with the history of the art, to interpret the choreography, to express a classic story with the elegant movements. It’s so much more than bouncing around in a tutu. It takes athleticism, education, intelligence, focus, thoughtfulness, creativity, and so much more. Plus, with ballet, there are no boundaries to the improvement that is possible. If you have mastered the single pirouette, you can move onto the double or triple. If your specialty is jumping (petit allegro), you can work on your turning or flexibility. If you are very controlled with your movements and techniques, you can work on your grace and storytelling. It’s truly an amazing art and something that so many people dedicate their lives to. Ballet really opens the door to seeing so much beauty, meeting so many amazing people, learning about so many amazing lives, and experiencing so much culture, while becoming healthy with exercise! I don’t know exactly how I’ll keep ballet in my life, but I know it definitely has to be there. After all, it is so rewarding and such a life enrichment!