I started in ballet I on Tuesday afternoons. Chloe was under the age of eight so she was required to take pre-ballet first. I remember being happy after the first class ended but I don't think it was because I had instantly fallen in love with ballet. It was more likely that I was relieved it was over and I could stop being nervous about it.
At first I was self-conscious. I was absolutely sure that everyone else in the class knew what they were doing except me. I didn't even know I was supposed to hold the barre until the first combination started and my teacher corrected me. Looking back I now realize that everyone was in the same place as me, I just couldn't see that then. Slowly I began to enjoy class. My teacher would stand in front of the class and do all the steps with us. They were always the same which was comforting to me. It got to a point where if it was Friday I wished for Tuesday.
On the last day of the session Chloe and I both got promoted to the next level. The spring recital was coming up and to particapate the student had to be in at least level II. That made me eligable to be in the show. My sister Chloe however, was only in level 1. This turned out to be a problem when my mom looked at the slip of paper my teacher gave me that proved I had been promoted. "You can be in the recital now," she said. Suddenly Chloe realized that she would be left out. "But she didn't even want to do ballet!" She pointed out, clearly upset. She really needed to be quiet because we were still at the rec center and the next class was about to start. I didn't want people to stare at us so the only thing I could think of was to push her over. As soon as I did that I realized it wasn't a good plan when people really started to look over at us. I didn't want everyone to know I pushed her so I started to run away. My mom realized she needed to get us away as fast as possible. Like the pro she was, she managed to calm Chloe down and get us out of there.
It really hit me after driving to the rec center to register for the next session what I was doing. Shy little me was going to be on a stage? In front of an audience? What was I getting myself into? But it was too late to turn back now. A few months later it was over and I came out alive. I may not have looked comfortable or even smiled during the show, but the important thing was that I got on stage and performed the dance. I still remember the steps to that dance.
I got to watch most of the other dances. The performers had to sit on bleachers in the high school auditorium where the recital was being held. We would wait until there were a few dances before ours to go backstage. I had the chance to see the ballet 3 girls perform. I was sure I could never be as graceful as them but at the same time I was absolutely positive I had to be. For some reason I got the idea in my head that because I was doing the small spring recital I was taking this whole ballet thing seriously now. I no longer wanted it as just a hobby, I wanted to become a professional. I didn't know the steps to take other than continue taking classes where I was, which only went up to ballet 3 by the way. I also didn't have a clue how hard a ballet dancer's life is.
When I told my older sister Amber about my plans she informed me that she didn't think I could go as far as I wanted by taking a once a week class at the rec center. I started to see she was right. I heard from someone else about a place called California Ballet School. In my mind that was the place to be if you wanted to go far. I still didn't know a whole lot about ballet so I thought it was one of the top schools in the world. Not that it wasn't a great school, but I thought so highly of it that it would have been the equivalent of the Kirov or Bolshoi ballet.
Unfortunately, the ballet school was expensive. There was no way we could afford it, and to be eligable for a scholarship I would have to take classes for at least a year before applying for one. I think I must have literally begged my mom everyday for the next year to let me go there. When I wanted something, I really wanted it. Sadly the odds of me going were slim. I didn't know how I was going to get to that ballet school, but my mind was made up that I just had to be there.