Monday, June 30, 2014

Kendra and the ballet

If anyone's interested, for the month of July, Julia and I are reading a chapter of Proverbs a day. I can't wait to get into a good habit again.


Ballet is an interesting thing with little girls.

And with big girls.

Didn't we all want to be ballerinas? I think some of us want to live vicariously through our children :)

I did ballet for 14 years and only stopped when I went away to university.

I personally loved it for a few reasons - being in the limelight at performance time :), the discipline of working towards a goal (no surprise!) and the fact that it taught me to persevere, to push through the pain, etc.

What I didn't love is that if you're at all talented in the later years (not the primary school level), it consumes your life. Mind you, I imagine these days (I'm feeling very old lately because I keep talking like this - "in my day"), ballet is a lot more competitive in the early stages.

I had class about three times a week and during the holidays, I was usually at ballet every day. When I danced for the PE youth ballet, we danced from 8:00 to 5:00 every single day, and in the evenings too on performance days. That's a whole month of sore, bleeding toes, extreme fatigue, tired muscles but also that amazing adrenaline when it's SHOWTIME!

I remember taking a taxi (ah, the good old days) to Main Street and running up that hill to the Opera House (I always run up hills to minimise the muscle pain). We basically lived in that place.

I didn't have a life outside of The Dance. I would have to be excused from stuff at school a lot of the time (because I had to be somewhere to dance), like all extra-murals. I can't remember how it worked out but for one or two years I got to participate in Quiz (yes, real nerdy, but I'm good under pressure and I was top of the class always, so it suited me).

ANYWAY, that's a very long way of saying I am SO OKAY with Kendra not wanting to do ballet. Because these days we have to ferry our kids around. In my day (there I go again), I walked 10 minutes to get to ballet.

They brought the brochures home when they started school last year and she wanted to join up. So I signed her up, paid a fortune for her to learn basically nonsense (but I'll admit my standards are high) and outfit her. She refused to do exams or shows or anything so I didn't push.

I'd just paid the last term's fees when she told me she didn't want to continue. I said that was fine but she had to finish the year because I'd just paid. She did.

Kendra has told me she only likes the dressing up, not the dance (which KILLS ME!). What is ballet if not for the dance? (I'm at heart a classically trained dancer so I've always enjoyed the process more than the costumes and glittery stuff.)

This year, I checked with her again just to make sure. You know how fickle the little ones can be! K was very clear (and cross)when she told me, "I TOLD YOU I don't want to do ballet anymore". Okay then.

So I told the teacher and that was that. I fully intended to let her dress up so I could take photos (just so I could have a bit of a memory of her dancing for last year) but I totally forgot UNTIL one day when I was at morning gym and I saw AMAZING light in the studio.

That very Sunday, I made a BIG DEAL of our special date so after lunch, K and I went to have a little photoshoot.

People, I took 412 photos! I'm down to 192 and 59 of them are starred (super good).

D doesn't want me to put a whole lot on the internet so I won't, and I'm also watermarking these so they don't get stolen.

I think they're very special. I love the colour ones and I LOVE the black and whites - so full of emotion, at least I think so.

I made a mini brag book for her of my favourites (with some of that scrapbook paper you gave me, Laura), and printed some extra for framing.

So I'm happy - I have my memories of the year Kendra danced.

Maybe she'll take it up again? Maybe she won't? All fine with me.

(I must admit, after this shoot, I was just a tiny bit sad, because she has great form and good lines for ballet. She did some turns on one leg and even though the bent leg was a bit "off", the rest of her body was "perfect")

Were you a girl who did ballet? If yes, how long?
Do your kids do ballet?


  1. Ooh, I love the pictures! And I got SO excited when I saw your watermark! ;) So professional!

    I danced for 10 years. I am really torn about exposing the girls to it, though. All the pictures I see online are of these kids who are so made up in their outfits and makeup and hair...and you know I have big issues with all that.

    I "compromised" a bit last summer when the girls did Tumbling...after I confirmed they could wear shorts with their leotards. ;) One part of me feels like I'm overthinking it...but I just can't put my mind at ease, so I figure I'll stay my course.

    If we had a studio here that focused more on the art form / the athletics of dance, I would be all about it. I just can't do the "show" aspect, though.

  2. I did it for roughly a month and then I got bored. N is doing "ballet" this year, but she's already told me that she wants to do Kung Fu next year, far as she's concerned once you've done something for a year, you're done with it. I'm okay with that since at least she gets to experience a bit of variety.

  3. Jada does ballet, monkeynastics, soccer, swimming and computers...and loves them all. We did not push. She insisted. I did ballet for about a year but moved on to modern dancing, country dancing, tap and hip hop.....I love ballet but it is a little too delicate for me...haha

  4. Carmen loves her ballet! She insists that she wants to become a ballerina, so we'll have to wait and see I guess. :)

  5. I did ballet for a bit but then I got fat so had to stop. Kiara did it for a bit but had no interest in it so now she does her modern and hip hop :)

  6. I think you pretty much know - I did ballet to grade 1 RAD - then my father passed away and all my will to do it went out of the window with the struggle to adapt etc. I am always sorry I did not take up some form of dance later - maybe - never too late. A started at 3 and loved it from the word go. She is doing grade 3 RAD this year. She never complains - not even in the heat of exams with 4 x a week ballet (only 2 weeks of the year). I love that although tall she has a great composure - she always walks like a ballerina unless she is very tired. I doubt she will go on forever - she is very tall for ballet. And of course, next year if all works out she starts with Spanish - I can see her going on with this though. It has been her dream since she saw the Spanish ladies in grade 1. And maybe I will join?

    BTW did you know the RAD syllabus changed a lot the last 3 years - they are doing more difficult moves earlier but are not expected to execute with perfection They also have lovely props 0 they are dancing this year with the long ribbons over the head for exams.

    1. Composure - really? I mean posture.

  7. Oh and I forgot to say that those are the most stunning pictures - and I am so sorry I did not do something like that when she was smaller. (Maybe I should bribe her and her friend to do some at the gym over the holidays.

  8. OH I FEEL YOU MY FRIEND!! Hannah is NOT interested in ballet.. she does Playball, wants to join club soccer with Liam and prefers swimming in Summer. I had this convo with Cat, because I still believe that once Liam goes off to another school next year, she will not be swayed by his choice of extra mural and I can sweet talk her into dance. It doesn't even have to be ballet, I just want her to do some form of dance because she LOVES TO DANCE and also maybe possibly yes yes yes because I did ballet through my whole schooling career and I want her to have that wonderful experience!!!! So I am still working on twisting her arm. The ballet offered at our school is rubbish, basically kids running around on tippy toes, but before I fork out an arm and a leg on REAL lessons, I want to get her interested in the tippy toes stuff to see..

  9. I wish I'd realized that if I'd told my mom I didn't want to do ballet I could have stopped! I did it for far too long. My daughter seems to be taking after my sister though and will probably be in ballet long-term if she keeps up her interest in dancing.

  10. Bwhahahaha! Never would you find me dancing, let alone dressed up! I was on a field or in the woods. I'm glad you've let her lead the path. I'm doing that with the girls, but thus far they haven't truly shown a desire for anything. I'm sure once they start school that will change, but I need to see some real interest before I put out the $$$ for two little ladies! I'm not sure how I will split myself if they choose different things!

  11. My parents could never afford it. We were 5 girls! I wanted B to do ballet...which she did for 6 months until after their first big concert. After all the rehearsals she HAD it and refused to go back. That was the end of that.

  12. Ok growing up dance wasn't considered part of a syllabus or school extra mural! Education was just class work sadly!!!!!

    I'll email you re the watermark.

    Love live love the pictures , she looks so regal and gets the poses. A part of me is sad she doesn't like dance like her mama. Though I'm not surprised, she's quite introverted after all

  13. I never did ballet and I am terrified that Gemma will be into it. I have NO clue what it's supposed to be like, the form etc... That said I LOVE WATCHING ballet at the theatre but as to dancing it - was never for me. I was too busy being a tomboy running cross country and playing touch rugby and action cricket!



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