Two things that ballerinas know much about: being tough on themselves and eating. The second one is actually pretty easy: many teenage dancers that I know can and do eat just about anything, and have no issues about their appearance (just don’t have them critique themselves about their dancing). The first one, giving self-acclamation, is another story (but not one I will write about today).
Today, was the annual Cecchetti Scholars Luncheon hosted by the Cheshire Dance Centre. The banquet room was full of dancers and their parents. The sun was beaming in the room. Sixteen tables formally decorated with fine linens, china and glassware. Everyone complimenting each other on their new dresses, high heels (teenage dancers are really tall) and non-bunned hair. The food was fabulous. The front presentation area was full of flowers and certificates showing the exams in which the dancers have been adjudicated. From ages 6-19, as well as some older dancers were honored today.
Now, the Cheshire Dance Centre is not our ballet home studio, but we are very familiar with it, as that is where all the Cecchetti exams are held. From our first summer intensive two summers ago (see my post about that experience for more details) there have been some wonderful dancers from CDC that have welcomed E with open arms and hearts, always giving her hugs and staying in touch throughout the year. I noticed something today that I believe is very common with young ballerinas – change is hard. We sat with a dancer who is graduating high school in a few months and the unknown next step of what college she will be attending was almost too much for her to talk about – she has been at this dance studio since she was 4. Will she continue with ballet? Can she find a studio that teaches the Cecchetti method? Will she be able to do her own laundry? And of course, that got me thinking about E – in 2 years, this will be her, with the same excitement and apprehension as I saw in this young woman’s face. (E and I are very close and I don’t look forward to the day that we aren’t being together every day.) And then I thought about all the years that E has been dancing: the injuries, the tears, the smiles, the complaining, the excitement, all of it. Then I thought of this (with great comfort): with the way that we believe and raised our kids, God is our Lord, our protector, our guide, our director and our comforter. When fear rears its ugly head in our thoughts, I know that we can turn to God and he will turn our thoughts and direction back on the right path. When the “fear of the future” starts coming to mind, we think of Jeremiah 29, “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
I don’t want to get all “preachy” here, but I want to encourage parents of dancers that the unknown future should be exciting and encouraged. Some of our best memories are when things happened unexpectedly and unplanned. And when E gets a little anxious about her next steps, in ballet and her future, I often sing (much to her dismay) the Bobby McFerrin song, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” and especially the line “In every life we have some trouble, But when you worry, you make it double, Don’t worry, be happy.”