Today’s Once Upon a Time is not exactly a story… I was scrolling through old photos on Facebook for inspiration and saw this one my mom posted; it’s too cute not to share! The serious little ballerina in the pink tutu is me and the pig-tailed, missing-teeth dancer is my big sister Katharine (we are 5.5 years apart).
My guess is that I’m around age 3 in this photo. At this point I was not yet in dance lessons myself, but the ballerina dream was already entrenched in my heart. I was pretty opinionated even at that age, so I’m sure I insisted accompanying Katharine to her lessons in my own dance-wear.
I was five when I began lessons, shortly before we left Oregon for Virginia, where we both studied at the Richmond Ballet School. Oh how I loved dancing and how I longed for the day when I’d be big enough to wear toe shoes. I used to try Katharine’s on and stagger around the house. We moved again when I was 8 and I didn’t take lessons again until I was 11, stopping just before we moved again when I was almost 13. I never got to the point of toe-shoes, sadly, but I loved to dance.
I still do. On occasion I accompany my friends to the Rumba Room downtown for their swing dancing nights on Fridays. One of my favorite workouts is a Dancing with the Stars DVD. A long time ago I realized I wouldn’t become a ballerina. But I think in my heart the little girl in my heart still dreams… of the grace and beauty, the glittery tutus (yes, I know they are pretty shabby up-close – I went backstage at the Nutcracker once), the amazing physical feats.
Pictures like this one still make my heart skip a beat. What is it about ballet that so captivates and enthralls so many of us girls?
P.S. I have a friend who actually IS a ballerina! I get a vicarious sort of excitement about that…