At 5 years old, my mom enrolled me in my first after-school class.
One day a week after school, I would change into my pink tights and black leotards on a bench by my school’s auditorium and eagerly wait for my ballet classes to begin.
This was long before iPods and compact sound system, so Ms. Nañas, my teacher, would haul her turntable, crates of vinyl records, and heavy speakers down the corridor and up the stage for her weekly classes. I remember how she would mentally rehearse the routine at the corner of the stage and then gently put the needle on the record once she’s ready.
I pursued ballet on and off for 7 years. I got my pointe shoes at 9 when my calves and feet were strong enough to support my body when I stand on my toes. I always felt proud and rewarded when asked during warm up exercises to stand at the end of the barre, because that meant that I was good enough to lead the barre exercises.
Today, I brought my daughter to her first ever ballet class. I watched her from the big windows and hoped that she too, would enjoy the experience of performing in front of an audience.
This is the first class that she requested to attend. Truthfully, she could pursue this for as long as her schedule allows and for as long as she wants.
I was on and off with my ballet program because I spent my summer with my extended relatives, and my schedule was unpredictable. But my mom would enroll me again after the summer break because she knew I enjoyed dancing ballet.
Like my mom, I would encourage and support my daughter’s interests.
And if my daughter decides at some point that this is no longer what she wants, I will make sure that she is leaving it for all the right reasons.