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The Unlikely Ballerina

March 24, 2010 - Betsy Bethel

I think the most fun my daughter had at her first ballet class last night was when she did her best breakdancing impression in the middle of the studio floor after everyone else had left.

Granted, it was only the first day.

I just had to laugh, though, as I peered in through the glass-windowed door during class to see Emma playing with the little laces on her ballet slippers while she was supposed to be doing floor stretches, and making faces at herself in the mirror while at the barre.

I'm as green about this ballerina stuff as she is. It didn't even occur to me until Monday afternoon that she might be required to wear a special outfit to class. (Not sure why they didn't tell me that when I registered!) I called in a panic to find out what she should wear, and sure enough, she had to be clad in leotard, tights and ballet slippers. And to think I was going to send her in sweatpants and sneakers!

The mad dash was on Monday night to acquire ballerina togs after dinner and before bedtime at the mall, with a 4-year-old in tow. Several calls ahead to local department stores revealed they had nada. Success was found at Kmart, of all places, for the leotard. Tights and ballet slippers were acquired at Payless. Shopping accomplished by 8:30 p.m., but a trip to the arcade set us back a half-hour. Bedtime was delayed another hour due to the fact that Emma's pushover mom let her eat the lollipop that she won with her skeeball tickets.

I was expecting worse but was pleased that the cost of the basic gear was only about $32. I decided, however, I am going to need a case of tights to last us through this eight-week class. She got a hole in hers in the 10-minute car trip from preschool to the studio!

It's only eight weeks, I keep telling myself.

With a mom that is as accident-prone and clutzy as I am, my daughter is starting behind the eight-ball with this ballet thing. She loves to dance, although her kind of dancing is more akin to what you find at a horse show rather than on the Capitol Theatre stage. Galloping in circles is her most distinctive move, followed by spinning on her knees (her version of breakdancing). She does perform a nifty little pirouette, but her exit move entails landing in a heap on the floor, in a fit of giggles.

My objective with ballet class is to help her master those long legs of hers and perhaps learn to move with a little more grace. Of course, I also want her to have fun and meet some new little girlfriends. As a fringe benefit, maybe I'll meet some new mommy friends.

I almost decided to call it quits, however, as I stood at the basement wash basin last night and scrubbed her only leotard, in order to rid it of the stains caused by the chocolate milk she spilled all over it on the way home from class.

Hello, Kmart? Do you have any of those leotards left in size 5?

It's only eight weeks, it's only eight weeks, it's only eight weeks ....



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