Sunday, September 21, 2014

Prima Ballerina


She was three years old when I enrolled her in a ballet class at the community rec center. After one class she refused to go back. Walking back and forth across the floor holding their hands at various angles above their head looked nothing like the ballet she had seen in Barbie's 12 Dancing Princesses. We opted for tumbling instead. Through her years of dance she has taken several ballet classes, but they focused more on learning dances for the performances instead of perfecting the technique. Starting ballet here reminded me so much of our first experience at that rec center. The teacher was strict. She expected perfection. She spoke the instructions only in French. She threatened to kick her out if she didn't get it right. They didn't leave the bar the entire class. It just wasn't fun. I had mentioned earlier about how the director was so generous to offer her a scholarship, but I found myself stuck in between a rock and hard place. There were many tears shed that first term, mostly because she had a three hour Saturday class so while the boys were in their pajamas eating cold cereal and watching Phineas and Ferb, she was stuck behind a bar perfecting her Grand Battement. I told her she had to stick with it for at least one term and then she could decide if she wanted to quit. I promised her it would get better, but I wasn't so sure myself. I assumed the scholarship was only for one term so when the next term came we compromised that she would just take one class a week. And then the director was so kind to extend the scholarship and let her take all of the additional classes at no cost, and I wasn't sure what to do. I didn't want to fight her every class for another term, but there's no way I could say thanks but no thanks after she was so generous. I finally left it up to Kylie, I told her that if she really didn't want to continue then that was fine, but she would have to be the one to tell the director. She was even more scared to tell her than I was, so she decided it would be best to stick with it. We talked to her teacher and worked out a better schedule, no more Saturday classes and we added a few more fun ones like Urban Jazz, pilates and Pointe prep. That term was the turning point (no pun intended). She really invested herself and has improved so much. We're on the third term now and she is able to see the results from all those grueling bar exercises and has earned her right to prance around the room like those Barbie princesses. She is so beautiful and graceful and I love how anxious she is to show me what she has learned when she comes home from class. I love the sound of classical music filling the house as she teaches Ryder and Maddox the proper way to plie. She never complains about going to class anymore, even on the days that she goes straight from school and doesn't come home until long after dark. Warming up her dinner in the microwave while she sits at the table in her leotard and perfectly tight bun laughing about how her teacher tells them to squeeze their bums so they don't jiggle like jingle bells. I want to remember these moments. I'm proud of her for sticking with it through the hard times and not quitting, I hope this is a life lesson she won't forget. She really has been given an incredible opportunity to learn from the best, from teachers that have trained and performed all over the globe. Such an honor, and I feel so grateful and indebted to her director that has made this possible. They had their first performance and since I couldn't take pictures during the recital I snuck in a few from the doorway during the rehearsal. The lighting was beautiful and I loved the industrial vibe mixed with the elegant beauty of the dancers. I was dying to do a whole photo shoot of just Kylie, but this will have to do. In between the rehearsal and the performance we snuck out for some dinner where I adjusted her fake eyelashes over pizza while vowing to go out on more girls nights. I loved watching her perform that night, she was flawless. My prima ballerina.








6 comments:

Ali said...

Wonderful!

PS. You stirred up long forgotten memories of my own dancing, the excitement of the shows, the preparation, the dress rehearsals, audience applause, hot stage lights!... Wow.

Tyson and Dawn Jolley said...

She is the most beautiful ballerina I've ever seen. I cannot wait for you guys to get back so I can see her recitals here!

Janessa said...

I have goose bumps. I hope she can hear me clapping and cheering for her from way over on the other side of the world. I am one proud aunt!!! I hope I get the opportunity to watch her recital in person someday. I'm sure she is stunning! I love her so much and an so proud of all her hard work. You're such a great mom to encourage her and push her but to still give her some say in it. What a great lesson she's learned. What a beautiful amazing girl! Fabulous pictures, as always!

Jodee said...

I can totally relate. The long hours are grueling and I often wonder if its worth it but there is just something so special about the lessons they learn and the friendships they make. And watching them hold their hands just so and tilt their heads so perfectly... I just wish they could dance together.

Jodee said...

ps- have you tried the fiber lashes? Madison hates the fake glue on ones so much!

Kristal said...

She's lovely! That 2nd to last shot…beautiful. I hope Vivvy is my ballerina. Kam is my hip hopper/piano lover….ballet did NOT stick at all with her…neither does dressing like a girl, brushing her hair, or anything pink. Learning to love my tomboy is hard…how did my mom do it. You need to post a video of her dance on here!