Two weeks before school ended for the Summer, my Mom casually mentioned that I would be trying a new Summer activity this year. A few days before school ended, she told me what that activity would be: ballet! As I've said, my Mom believes everyone should have an education in the arts, which is why I take piano. But ballet? Me? I'm a spunky tomboy, not a ballerina! Beth is a ballerina. She is tall and graceful, and oh so elegant. That just isn't me. She has been taking ballet since she was three. I am 10 1/2 and I have never even attempted ballet. I didn't think Mom could be serious.
Then, last week, Mom asked me if I wanted to go shopping with her. I agreed. We went to the mall, and somehow ended up in the store that sells dance clothes. Mom got a sparkle in her eyes, as she sorted through shiny tulle skirts, and leotards. She held a pink leotard up to me and said it was perfect. Then, she started picking out a full dance outfit and led me to the dressing room. I got all decked out in the clothes, planning to hate them, but I was surprised to find I actually liked how I looked. Mom said I was the cutest thing and made me strike a pose for a photo op outside the dressing room.
We only left with the pink leotard, and delicate, soft pink ballet shoes. A few days later was my first class. I was so nervous. I had butterflies in my stomach as we arrived at Beth's dance school. A bunch of girls were going into the school as I was. They carried themselves so gracefully. I was slouching, wearing jeans with a rip in the knee (and not the kind that makes expensive jeans look "distressed," but the kind that comes from falling off a tire swing). I straightened myself up, and entered the school. Girls, and a few boys, were bustling around the building. I found my way to the dressing room, and put on my new dance outfit. Then, feeling more self confident, I entered the dance studio.
My teacher, Miss Carpenter, is beautiful. She has flaming red hair that she wears in a tight bun, and very pale skin. She speaks so softly, but is very firm. What I find funny is that she has something in common with Miss Basso, my piano teacher: calling me by my full name, Francesca. Surprisingly, I wasn't the oldest kid in the beginner's class. There is another girl, Claire, who is twelve, and Serena who is eleven, plus a few other ten year olds. The rest of the class is about 6-9 years old. I learned the basic positions pretty easily. These are the first things we learned after warm-ups. Miss carpenter even complimented me a few times. After my second lesson, I felt like the girls that you always read about in those books that are on everyone's bookshelves; the awkward underdog who is forced into ballet (or horseback riding, music, gymnastics, etc.) by her well-meaning mother and ends up not only loving the activity, but discovering she is a natural, and becoming accomplished, and maybe getting a parade in her honor. Okay... so maybe I didn't instantly become a prima ballerina, and I probably won't ever become any kind of ballerina, but I didn't dislike ballet as much as I thought I would. And, after class ended, I went home, put on my old denim shorts and tee shirt, and went outside, barefoot, to play on my tire swing. This spunky tomboy was back in business.
So, the moral of the story is; it's okay to try new things, as long as you stay true to who you are.