I was three when my parents enrolled me in ballet classes offered at a nearby elementary school gym. For my first ballet recital I was a hopping bunny I still have the pink bunny ears. I wore my hair in pigtails and had a pink fuzzy leotard with a furry tummy and a cotton tail on my butt.
My second year of ballet I was a sailor, with red sequined tutu and a matching red and white sailor hat. I was wearing so much red lipstick I looked like a tiny trollop.
My third year I was a piece of popcorn and the majority of the choreography included me and my friends jumping up and down frenetically. During our live performance, I remember bouncing enthusiastically, and at one point wondering why people in the audience were roaring with laughter. Then I happened to glance down and realized amidst all that bouncing my leotard had come undone and I was totally flashing the audience with my little girl boobies. Unfazed, I tied my straps back on while continuing to bounce along, being my best little popcorn self. That was my first experience with the stage adage, “the show must go on.”
I continued with ballet for the rest of high school. Some of my performances included dressing as a hobo clown for a Mary Poppins themed recital (I don’t remember any hobo clowns in Mary Poppins but that’s essentially what our costumes looked like…thank you, Miss Marian), countless fairies, a deck of playing cards, and my piece de resistance, my senior solo to Seal’s “Kiss from a Rose.” I thought I was so new wave and awesome, choreographing what I considered a superb piece of modern dance. I was certain I was the next Twyla Tharp. The video of that recital will forever haunt me.
My experience with ballet gave me much more than just exquisite posture and a tub full of tutus (which I still have and put on every once in awhile). I learned to love all kinds of music and theatre and dance. I learned the value of expressing my emotions and personality through my body. I learned what it looks like to be in a state of confidence and grace from the inside out.
…which is good because one needs all the confidence and grace one can get when this happens.
2 thoughts on “Ballerina”
I’m blowing that up and framing it. This outfit probably gave Dad an additional 10 years of life because he didn’t have the added stress of worrying about boys ever taking advantage of you.