When my oldest daughter
was in her teens, she was accepted into the ballet program of one of the most renowned performing arts high schools in the country. But it wasn’t as easy or wonderful as it might sound. Very few dancers make it in the rarified world of classical ballet, and if you aren’t blessed with a certain body type, similar to that required of top models or gymnasts, the classes and the competition can be grueling.
Yay for construction at our office and blue rubbish bins
Elle top ~ Kohl’s clearance years ago
Skinny jeans ~ Loft on sale
Booties ~ Ross Dress for Less
1928 three-way locket pendent ~ 20+ years old
After a ninth grade year at the arts high school that was tough on both of us, I wanted to pull her out of the program. But she wasn’t ready, and her teachers were encouraging her to switch to modern dance. She only wanted to be a ballet dancer. I made the difficult choice to let her return for the tenth grade. At the end of it, she asked to transfer to public high school, along with several of her friends from the ballet program.
Looking back, I’m glad I did not make the choice to leave for her, because I think if I had, for the rest of her life, I would have been the one who destroyed her dreams of a career in classical ballet.
My fave piece of old costume jewelry. I love all the pleats and covered buttons on this shirt.
What is really amazing about her life’s journey is that last week she interviewed with the New York City Ballet, and was hired on the spot. Not as a dancer of course, but as a stitcher in their costume shop, an extremely difficult position to find anywhere in the country. Is she over the moon? Yes. Do I get teary-eyed when I think about how full circle her life has come? Yes.
These are the kinda dorky poses I have a special gift for, but you can see the covered buttons on the shooties.
During her second year of college to become a stage manager, she discovered she’s a whiz with a sewing machine. Her logical brain, which has always breezed through complex topics like advanced mathematics, physics, and engineering, took like a duck does to water to the ability to re-create period patterns, make new patterns, drape cloth, and solve complex problems in the creation of unusual costumes, like stretchy hair suits. She loves to “build” costumes (you can see her portfolio here
), and throughout the last seven years has had the opportunity to travel all over the country to work in professional theaters, even making new flying monkeys for Wicked
For some reason, I think I’m a Power Puff Girl.
And now she’s married both her love of costume construction and dance with a job that suits her perfectly, at one of the finest ballet companies in the country that makes all of its costumes in-house. She still dances and has danced plenty since high school, even showing up to one summer theater job to sew costumes, and instead dancing the role of Mr. Mistoffeles in a production of Cats when the dancer hired did not show up. It is very cool to see your own kid whip out those 30-odd pirouettes that highlight the magical cat’s role in the musical.
She’s come full circle with her art, and landed in the place she was told in high school she could never aspire to, doing something different than she ever imagined she’d be doing in high school, but still a critical and creative part of the ballet world she’s always loved.
Are you doing something very different than what you thought you’d do when you grew up?
Addendum: The Teen turned Sweet Sixteen today, in the hospital, but is supposed to get released to come home in a few hours. Her life journey to date has been tough but she’s a fighter, and I can’t wait to see her go out and conquer the world.