This morning was Adeline’s first ballet class. We arrived early because I wasn’t sure what to expect. We walked through the door and were met with an adorable array of pastel pink and purple tutus, dresses, and various other chiffony, feathery, girly goodness. I was promptly ushered through the process of purchasing tights, a tutu ensemble, and ballet slippers – all of which added up to almost as much as we paid for the class. Soon all the other little girls had arrived and we lined up to enter the studio.
The class was short and there wasn’t much ballet involved. But good lord. It was a.dor.able. Seven little girls, all right around Addie’s age (between 18 and 36 months), dressed in tights and tutus, running around, spinning, hopping, you name it. All my feminist, there’s-more-to-life-than-being-cute, rhetoric diminished to nothingness in the face of so much freaking cute.
After much stretching and plieing and spinning, we had free movement. I chased Addie into a corner of the room, both of us giggling with delight, and out of the corner of my eye I saw a little bathroom. In an instant I was transported back nearly 30 years.
Little Sara – probably about three years old (maybe four?). Standing in the second row, third from the right. I see myself in the mirror at the front of the room, my face framed by those of the two little girls in front of me. Just like Addie, I wear a little ballet outfit, complete with leotard, tights, and ballet slippers.
I like ballet – I’m good at it. When the teacher shows us a movement I can pick it up quickly. My body moves naturally and easily in the way that I want it to. I see some of the other girls struggle to follow the teacher. They seem to concentrate so hard – too hard, I think.
I’m not particularly friends with any of the other girls in the class. Not that I can remember, anyway. But I have fun here. My social awareness is just starting to blossom. I care what these girls think of me. I want them to think I’m graceful and beautiful. I want them to like me.
We all scurry over to the edge of the room and line up for our little jumps across the floor. When we’re done, we line up in front of the mirrors again. I study myself. Then I start to feel it. I have to go pee. I think I can hold it until the end of class. It shouldn’t be too long now. Besides, I have these tights and leotard on – it would be so hard to get out of them and then back into them. I’ll just hold it.
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