When I had a phone call a few months ago with my friend Andy of Align Coaching to understand more about the coaching process he does, he explained that one of the exercises he guides people through was thinking about five lives you could have. He said, “for example, if you wanted to be a ballerina…”
My mouth dropped open.
My eyes widened.
“Did you know I used to dance?” I (almost) yelled back.
He laughed and said no.
When I was a kid, I’d always wanted to take ballet , but the opportunity and money wasn’t there. When I was in fourth grade, I got a Sweet Valley Twins book that I read over and over, because it had to do with ballet.
After I moved to Albuquerque and got married, for some reason, I started thinking about ballet again, and decided that I’d do it. When I was 23 I walked into a dance studio for my very first class and I fell in love.
It was difficult. I could barely do any of it at first and I felt awkward and uncoordinated. Others with more experience made it look so easy. I was sore the next day. But I showed up again the next week, and the week after that, and the week after that. Eventually I took two classes a week and over time, I learned and improved.
There were times I practically lived at the studio due to classes, rehearsals for recitals or The Nutcracker, and even just hanging out talking before or after those classes and rehearsals.
Ballet class and rehearsal has always been the one thing where I could go and focus on something without any other thoughts creeping into my head. Dance helped me stand taller and be more confident in myself and be more comfortable in my own body.
And I became good at it.
As someone who enjoyed playing sports when I was younger, but didn’t get much playing time on the basketball court or softball field, it felt great to find something that I loved doing and that I did well.
The studio was more than just a place to dance. The people in that studio were a family, with past family members pointe shoes and pictures hung up on the wall. There is a sense of love and belonging that is hard to find when you walk outside the doors. The people there have different backgrounds, different lives, different faiths, different political beliefs.
But in the studio we were all one.
Ballet was one of the most important things in my life, an that studio represents beauty, peace, love, and belonging; four things that are of such importance to me that they really are a part of who I am.