My life in 4th grade were composed mostly of three main things: ballet, piano, and writing.
I never considered myself a stellar piano player. I could read music and play the notes, and that’s about it. I loved writing stories, though, and considered story telling one of my childhood talents. My favorite story was entitled “The Alligator and the Eight Children” and ended with all eight siblings in the story falling off a bridge and being eaten by a hungry alligator. I was so proud of that book. I was also thrilled when my story, “My Friend,” was recognized at my elementary school and I was selected to attend a children’s writer’s conference at DeAnza College.
As much as I loved it, by the time I was nine ballet was beginning to take over my life. I had auditioned for the studio’s traveling company and was accepted into the exclusive group. I was in lessons (including alternate days of flaminco dancing) six days a week and was transitioning early to pointe.
My mom asked me during that year if I loved ballet enough to make it my life focus–a huge thing for a nine year old to have to decide. The road I was heading down was the road of a professional ballerina. I had no time left over for being social – for being a kid. I was already at the studio most of the week, and it was only going to get busier.
I chose to quit altogether.
I felt a tinge of regret for leaving ballet behind for many years. In fact, it wasn’t until my junior year of college that I had a sense of closure and peace about ballet. I decided I would revisit my dancing days and enrolled in a ballet class. While I did very well, I no longer loved it. I finished the class and was finally able to close the book on my ballet days.
Granted, ballet is still part of me and always will be. I will probably always do Pliés and leg exercises while I’m brushing my teeth.
I’m recording my youth, one year per week. Come back next week to find out what life was like in 5th grade (age 10).
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