Ballet: Take One

This year was a first for Annie & I. She had been asking to dance since she was 2 (no exaggeration) & since she was just nearly 3 & potty-trained in September when ballet classes started they let her in.
I personally never took ballet or any form of dance. I was in gymnastics as a kid for a few years but the teacher strongly recommended another sport for me as I quickly outgrew my classmates in height & did not progress along with my age group. This was fine & no major loss to me but all through grade school, jr. high, & high school I played basketball. It's a fun sport, teaches teamwork, & keeps one active but doesn't necessarily require a lot of grace.

This background all goes to say that I was really happy Annie was enthusiastic about ballet and hopeful that she would pick up some of that grace that I never did. Thus, she began ballet.
Before the first class
Ballet was not easy.  Neither of us realized how regimented it would be. We got the required outfit & shoes but I didn't know until the first practice that the studio doors closed & parents were left outside without even as much as a window to observe while they waited. This was pretty tough for Annie too. While she goes to school & has group time, a regular schedule, helps clean-up toys, etc... It's not quite the same environment as when you have to go in, sit in a specific spot, & begin your stretches as they are called out from a recording by a very formal British man to the background of classical music.
She was also required to learn to skip.  Do you know how difficult that is for a 2 year-olds little legs?  Skipping is a developmental milestone that I am familiar with because of all the well-child checks we do in clinicals. It is not one we expect children to be able to master until age 5. There is a reason for this: it's complicated and requires coordination! However, with the help of her teacher by December and the parents night (where we got to observe) she was progressing along with skipping quite well.
She was also doing good with all the other moves and dances they did in class.  However, this was the first time I realized how being the youngest in a class of peers can be hard.  While we observed she really got upset/embarrassed a few times as she still needed some assistance in moves that the older girls didn't.  We were both very proud of her but I was hesitant as we started the spring semester and they began to focus on the recital.  I asked her a couple of times about ballet and she would say she liked the class but I could tell it was work for her.  In February though she mastered skipping and because she was the only kid in her school that could skip this was a huge confidence booster for her. 

May came and with it another parents night to let us have a sneak peek before the recital.  What progress she had made!!!  Philip and I beamed through the whole dance.  She did so well and you could tell she was having fun.  Then came the first night of the recital. We were all backstage and ready to go and due to bad weather that recital was cancelled. 

Yes, that is the look of disappointment (and ridiculous mandatory stage make-up) and confusion as to why she had to get in to this get-up and not dance.  This meant the next day she had two performances and in each one she was outstanding.  It was so fun to see her dance and perform after she'd practiced for so long and come so far.  Needless to say, year one of ballet was a success and she has already acquired more grace than I would have ever dreamed of having. :)




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