Thursday, September 9, 2010


Saturday was difficult and fraught with mixed emotions.  On the one hand, she loves to dance and wants to dance on the other hand, she doesn't speak the language, she doesn't know anyone and this class may be too much for her.

Dance studios have unique cultures of written and unwritten rules.  There are dress codes - what leotard styles and colors that are allowed and not allowed.  Expectations about hair - bun or bun optional, how neat must it be.  Must one wait to enter the classroom?  May one speak to the teacher before one is spoken to?  There are hierarchies of place - who stands at which barre, who stands in front and in back. Little of this is communicated directly, most of it is to be absorbed and absorbed quickly.

Imagine yourself at twelve years old.  You only speak English.  You know no one.  It is the first day of class - new classmates, new studio, new class, new pointe shoes, new teacher, and the language is French.  On top of that, no one has really helped your mom figure out the proper class placement for you.  Mom has guessed that you should probably be with the high school students, but this guess could be very wrong.  This means you are the youngest in the class, by as little as two years and as many as six.  If things are wrong, you have only limited ways of understanding and expressing the problem.  The only things you have to rely on are your dance training, determination and a kind Belgian girl who can speak some English.  Mom tells you the class lasts one hour.  It actually lasts two.

This is the situation Kyra walked into on Saturday.  I don't know if I could have done it.  She did it.  If she did not love dance so much.  If she did not have any aspirations of returning to dance upon our return to Virginia, I doubt she would have attempted it.  On and off over the summer she has debated with herself if she would.  This was a high hurdle and one she was not anxious to attempt.

Attempt she did and succeed she did.  Mom's guess about placement was correct - highest level ballet class offered by the studio.  Mom is proud.  Kyra is brave.


  1. You know who cried as she read this

  2. Way to go Kyra!!!!!!!! and Bravo to mom!!!!!!!!! Miss you both very much.