Re-Setting The Barre: Hello World

At the age of three, I was already getting my first stitches.

Disclaimer: The story behind my scarred leg is a lot less interesting than one a guy covered in tattoos at a bar is willing to share.

You see, I was simply a determined (and inpatient) child who loved her lucky charms. So as my mom boasted about all of the things that made me her favorite child…okay maybe that part of the story isn’t so accurate. She was probably talking about adult things like taxes or whatever with my dad. Seeing as she was distracted, I took it upon myself to climb on a chair to reach the magical lucky charms. However, my still-in-the-process-of-developing brain failed to foresee that a chubby child like myself would tilt the glass round table if I sat at the edge. One bite of lucky charms later, I was in mid air about to fall on top of a pile of shattered glass. That’s when my mom leaped forward and saved me.

I guess this is the part where I call her my hero. Don’t get me wrong, she definitely was! …At least in that moment. But once she realized I could benefit from a little discipline in regards to my patience (or rather impatience), she signed me up for ballet classes when I was fifteen.

Elevé, jeté, développé! Dear lord, the only thing I was developing were two red cheeks and a creative interpretation of the robot dance. Meanwhile, the ten-year old girl behind me managed to stay gracefully synchronized with the other far better skilled teenage girls. After an entire class of staring at the full-length mirrors and trying to follow along, I realized that my preconception of ballet being girly girls in pink tutus hopping around like bunnies was a huge misconception. First and foremost, one of the many things the audience is deprived of are the excruciating rehearsals that result in blisters and sore muscles in places I didn’t know existed. Behind the perfect pas de bourrée, are endless hours of practice (and in my case some tears). Secondly, it is extremely difficult to retain a smile on your face while trying to ignore the pain every muscle in your body is enduring. While I appreciate the beauty of a synchronized ballet recital where all of the ballerinas look like porcelain dolls, the truth is there is a lack of diversity in the ballet world.

Indeed the show must go on but the dancers do not need to be the same race or have the same skin tone. Ballet performances can stay classical such as the Nutcracker, but the one thing that shouldn’t stay stagnant are the performers and their diversity. The ballet world can use a modern touch: both in the dancers that are contracted and move up to prima ballerinas all the way down to the nude colored mesh and straps of ballet tutus. Join me as I break through the mirrored walls.