Couture Clash: Tutu Soon, Too Too Much!

I was not born a ballerina. I did not emerge from the womb on pointe, nor did I wear a tutu instead of a diaper. -Gelsey Kirkland, from "Dancing on My Grave"

 Today I was confronted with the issue of tiny tutus once more. My two and a half year old is in a pre-ballet class. Does this seem a contradiction to my passionate dislike of tutus for young girls? I don't think so. In fact, of the rules and regulations handed to us on the first day, the most striking was the studio's refusal to allow young dancers to wear tutus or even skirts of any kind. Only a leotard is acceptable, for both boys and girls. I was very happy to see that. Dance and dress-up ought not to be confused.

But why sign my two year old up for any sort of class at all? The answer is simple: she has lived in the ballet studio since she was six months old. She has come with Daddy to pick Mommy up from class. She has objected when the dancers stop between combinations and cried "One more!" She has flopped among the grown up dancers and stretched her legs in mimicry because she feels at home there. She has imitated releve and passe and port de bras since she was 18 months old. I don't know why. Was she born that way? I am a dancer and I have no idea if I was born that way. My young life was so different -- I was not a city child. I was a child of cars and traffic and the confinement of that land between suburban and urban: Los Angeles. Would I have been a happy spirit, frolicking down Broadway and singing to myself had I been raised in New York City? Would I have been more like my child? Would I have been what many casual observers call my child -- "a free spirit?" "A wild child?"

I signed my daughter up because for a year and a half, her nose has been pressed against the glass of the tap and the hip-hop and the ballet studio doors where her mother dances .  For two-years-olds, they open those doors. For a pre-ballet class. So I promised her she could have her own space to dance, she could be among dancers and run the length of the studio as soon as she turned two. And I kept my promise...

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