By: Nikki,
New York

Ever since I was a young girl, I always wanted to be a ballerina. There was something about the grace and natural beauty of a ballet dancer that I envied so much. Unfortunately, my family was relatively poor; we were always behind with rent and other bills, so there was no way in the world my parents could afford dance lessons.

Years later, my mom allowed me to attend a 7-day Dance Camp during the summer when I was 13 years old. I was the oldest and tallest student, and truthfully I didn’t feel welcomed by the teachers (I’m guessing because of my age, compared to the other students).

When the Dance Camp was over, I decided to enroll in beginner ballet classes at the studio. When I arrived for my first class, there was a mixup and the class was actually intermediate modern dance. They seemed perplexed and annoyed, however they invited me to take the intermediate modern….
Umm, no thank you, I signed up for beginner ballet. I politely declined, walked out of the studio and called my mom on a pay phone to come pick me up. That was the last time I stepped foot in a ballet studio…

…until I was 25! During this time, I began researching the possibility of learning ballet as an adult. To my surprise, I came across YouTube videos and blogs like this describing the possibility of learning ballet as an adult. As a working professional, I finally had the financial means to support my dream of dancing ballet.

Fortunately, I found a studio that offered Cecchetti method ballet. I was in contact for weeks with the director, who actually took the time to listen to to my needs and goals and gave valuable feedback on how to achieve these goals.

I attended class once a week for six months. During this time, I created friendships with people in the same boat as me, and I built excellent rapport with my ballet teacher.

It was a bittersweet moment when I had to tell my teacher and the director that I couldn’t take ballet with them anymore. I was offered and accepted a teaching job almost four hours away, and I was scheduled to move a few weeks later. They were very happy for me, and gave me a few words of wisdom to keep my eye on the ball to continue my dream.

I was in contact with several other dance studios in the new town that I was living in. Some never returned my phone calls/emails, while other studios didn’t offer adult ballet. I was in the process of setting up beginner/intermediate semi-private ballet lessons, however the director abruptly stopped communication with me before anything was finalized. This not only frustrated me, but it turned me off from pursuing this studio.

So here I am now, 26 years old, and I haven’t danced in five months because there are no studios in the area that can accommodate my needs/goals. I’m okay with this though, because I’m actually moving to New York City in five months, and I’ve already been in contact with a few different dance studios that have a full adult ballet and pointe program!!! I plan on starting from the beginning again, and in the meantime I plan on continuing with yoga. It has really helped to strengthen my entire body, while advancing my level of flexibility.

As I reflect back, I came a long way, yet I have so much ahead of me. My goal is to spend a few years dancing ballet a few times a week. Eventually, I would like to take on pointework. I realize that I’m the only one standing in my way. I will soon be living in one of the best performing arts cities of the world. My journey has just begun, and I so excited to come back to this blog in a few years to see how much I’ve progressed.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my story! I hope it will inspire others who doubt themselves, their abilities, or the possibilities ahead of them.

Submitted Sat Jan 31 2015