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Friday, June 13, 2014

Ballet recital at 35

 Ballet....the thing I always wanted to learn as a child , but never took a class. If you ask my parents you get two varying stories as to why. Either way, it was a squashed childhood dream. All the while my brother got to be a boy scout and my parents where even den learders ( not bitter at all..not one bit...fully recovered from this act of favoritism..whatever)
  I had a cousin who danced and I just wanted to be her.. I loved looking at all of her old costumes hanging in my aunts closet. Tutus, tule and  sequins...most little girls dream. On the rare occasion she let me in her room I would just stand in awe of her point shoes hanging on her wall...I wanted those shoes!! I would go as far as trying to make point shoes out of cardboard and duck tape, dancing around my living room to my parents oldies collection.  Its a wonder I never broke my ankle.....As years wore on I stopped asking to dance and took  up whatever sports were offered at school.  I accepted my future as "not a ballerina". I chose cheerleading because we got make up dances, not because I liked cheering. At this point I would not dare attempt to learn  ballet at risk of embarrassing my self for life.  Middle and high school are brutal enough.
  I remember watching an episode of Cheers where Diane decides to pursue her dream of dance by auditioning  for some ballet....Sam warns her she is only going to embarrass herself ,but she is determined to go through with it...needless to say it goes badly. This stuck with me for a VERY LONG TIME. I would always think back to poor, sad, embarrassed Diane as a reminder of why a grown up should not attempt ballet...
  So as most parents do, I decided to live vicariously though my children, and slapped them in dance as soon as they were old enough. Now I would have never if they did not seem interested, but they did. I swear... This may or may not have had something to do with my encouragement for all things ballet related, the purchasing of  fairy tutus, and forced viewings of the nutcracker on PBS each year..but we will never really know, will we.  P loved her pre ballet class ,while Ava resisted for a few years in favor of soccer and karate. Eventually the lure became too much for her and she decided to dance too.
  At some point when looking over their fall schedule one year, I noticed their studio offered adult classes.....ADULT CLASSES.....but as much as I wanted too, I just kept thinking  "don't pull a Daine, Kat..DOOONNNN'TTTT ) but alas, Dave is not Sam. Dave is encouraging.  I had also just had a baby, like a month before class started, and need to loose some baby weight.  So I signed up. I was told to go buy a leotard. I just had a baby..Just had a baby. "Hey adult lady who just had a baby, you will NEED a leotard, and tights"  ummmmm. what...NO! But wait, a leotard will help hold all that extra in! Brilliant. ummmmmmm, that assumption was false...I learned this after recruiting a few friends to class ( I was actually not about to step in there alone. That would have been super nuts) and we all headed off to the dance store together. I think it was equally traumatic for all of us.
   They only lasted a little while. I loved it from the minute I was able to get over the sight of me in that leotard! Our teacher is the best. She is able to teach a class of grown women how to dance without pulling her hair out. We are  a mixed bag. Some have danced most of their lives, some  like me who have never. We are 17-60 something years old.
  I have terrible ballet arms.  It haunts me in my sleep. I can not spot my pique and chaines turns. I have to remind myself to keep my toes pointed, always. I have to remind myself the elbow points in the direction you are moving.  Pull in from the core, shoulders back and down, chin up, legs straight, toes pointed, leg turned out....and so on and so on and so on.
  And this year we are in recital.  We must be lunatics. Full costume, makeup and hair.  Sharing a stage with 3-18 year olds.  We may royally screw up.. ( yet we have practiced for months) some people may think we are ridiculous, but I think someone will be inspired in that big audience. Some one who was scared to try something new, that they always wanted to do. At least I hope we inspire someone. We are not the best ,but its not a contest. I think we are brave. I think if you can get on a stage as a 30-50 something year old in a leotard, wearing too much make up and dance for hundreds of people, you are braver than most people. You have  confidence you didn't know you had. I am so proud of our grownie ballet class. I am so thankful for our teacher and her faith and confidence in us. I am so excited to share a stage with my girls. Its memory we will always have. They think I look beautiful in my less than attractive recital dress. They think it is amazing that I take ballet at their studio, from their teacher.  They are not embarrassed by me ,but proud that I am their mom. I pray that it is an example that they will always take with them in life. To be brave..not give a rip what other people think...to do things you love even ifyou are not amazing at doing it...try new things that scare you...be and inspiration to others..BE A DIANE. Don't  live in fear. Its paralyzing.
  So dance, sing, twirl, skip, play kazoo, learn the banjo, climb a mountain, run a marathon, ride your bike across the country...WHATEVER..just get out there and try it. Even if it means wearing a leotard as a grown A** woman!  Fl theater this saturday...you can see it for yourself...Im not scared to invite you. If it goes well, then all that practice payed off..if it goes horribly wrong, we can all laugh about it later.  We only get one chance at life people, make it count!