As an adult, I’m sure you have had “aha” moments when you know you’ve made the right decision – getting married, moving to a new town or state, quitting your job or having kids. Our kids have these moments too. Let me tell you about Es and my “aha” moment when it came to ballet. Summer 2013, E was wavering to even continue seriously with ballet. She has dealt with ankle injuries, horrible bunion pain, the frustrating part when your body doesn’t do what you brain knows to do and just overall dissatisfaction. As a mom, I want to have my kids push themselves past their comfort zones, but also not get so overwhelmed and frustrated that they quit.
She (and I as a chaperone) attended her first week-long Cecchetti intensive in Richmond, VA. It was very difficult, dancing 4-5 classes every day, and her bunions and ankles were really hurting. The day before the end of week demonstration day, her body kind of gave out, and her shoulder had a huge strain, which she couldn’t do all of the dances. She was glad she went, but there were a few drama queens in her classes and our chaperone group, and with so many teenage girls living and dancing together, she was ready to be done with it all (she doesn’t deal with the girl drama at all.)
But then in the fall of 2014 after a intensive Cecchetti workshop, E had her “aha” moment. She danced with the more advanced girls and in her words, “they really sweated and didn’t care what they looked like – they just worked hard and it shows.” At that point, she saw that if works herself hard, and not compare herself (often) to others, she will improve. As adults, we know that lesson, but as a then year old, she had to realize that herself, and not just hear it from me, her dad & her teacher.
So after that, her dancing changed. She would have her hair really bunned for each class (not the 30-second triple elastic job), she asked for more “mature” looking leotards, she took on more ownership of every aspect of her ballet world (but not her room yet). She took preparing for her Cecchetti graded exams seriously. And she seriously sweated during every class. And you know what came about from this change-about? A better dancer and a better person.