My Years at the Barre ~ True Tryst Story
My life as a dancer. (At the ballet barre)
When I was three, I put on my very first pair of ballet shoes. Yes, I had the cute tutu and tights and joined a class of about 20, tiny little girls, learning to point our toes and mostly stand in a straight line and look cute at the end of the season recital. At such a young age, my little heart began its true passion for dancing, and sparkly costumes, that continued for the next 15 years.
Through out my dancing career, I studied mostly tap & ballet, but went into other genres like lyrical, jazz & hip hop, during the later years. I travelled all over the country, competing and performing. I taught, student taught, for a couple of years when I was at the end of my years as a dancer, teaching those tiny little ballerinas that, many years ago, I once was.
I loved to dance. For so long, it was my whole life. I spent as much time dancing, rehearsing, performing & competing, if not more, than I did in school. I would watch my poise and posture, finger and arm placement as I practiced my foot work at the barre, ballet barre. I had big dreams. Plans to go to college and obtain a degree in the arts and possibly open a dance studio of my own. I did dream of dancing professionally, but I am very tall. At 6′, yes, I’m 6′ tall, my long legs looked lovely on stage, but I was as tall as most of the male dancers, sometimes taller. So, my dreams of being gracefully thrown into the air, were, to say the least, not likely to happen. I was just too tall.
I didn’t let this get me down, though. I kept dancing through my first two years of highschool. Until the day came when I got my drivers licence and I was suddenly thrown into a world of social events with the upper classmen that included keg parties, smoking weed and undeniably breaking my curfew and pissing my parents off. (I regret pissing my parents off still to this day. Oh, the things I would change if I could go back…)
I was 18 years old the last time I performed on stage. I was choreographing my own pieces by that time, and really loving being able to write the steps to my own numbers, practice them, pick music, and take to a competition with the hopes of winning trophies, metals and ribbons. My extracurricular activities of hanging out at all the dopest parties were starting to take a toll on my training as a dancer, and my last performance was not my best. I did not go out with a bang. My dancing had become a drag, not something I loved and looked forward to anymore. I didn’t have strong movements in that performance. I was sloppy. I had been doing it for 16 years, and I think I felt like it just wasn’t for me anymore. As my music ended, I took a bow and exited the stage. I took a silver metal in my category in that competition and havent danced since then.
That was 13 years ago. I haven’t danced in 13 years.
I still have all my costumes and shoes. My black & white wing tip tap shoes that were stellar in my Vegas shows still fit, as well as my soft pink satin toe shoes, with the ripped, worn satin, gently falling off the pointe and my worn ribbon laces that went up my ankles, shredded at the edges, they still fit too.
I put my toe shoes on the other day. I laced them up my legs and made the bold attempt to stand up on them, on pointe. To my surprise, it was like I never took them off. Granted, I’m sure my triple pirouette is a bit rusty… I dared not to even try. I did a single one instead and landed nicely, with good arm placement. I stood there for a minute, in my shoes and thought of my years as a dancer. Seemed like another life entirely. Was giving this up for keg stands and years of hangovers and bad habits worth it? Would I be the person I am today, if I had kept my toe shoes on and told the party invites to kiss my ass, I have better things to do with my time than get messed up at parties and make an idiot of myself. (Note: I could always handle the sauce pretty well, so I’m sure I didn’t make a compete idiot of myself… but I’m sure there were times that I did… happens to everyone, right?)
I think I’ll save the tap shoes for another day. Another day when I’m reminiscing of my past, and curious to see if I can still tap my ass of, like I once could. (I was like Ginger Rogers in my youth… looking for my Fred Astaire)