Too Late to Dream?
It only takes a second of courage or a split second of insanity to change the course of your future.
As I write this, I’m wearing my New York City Ballet pants that I threw in my bag on a recent trip back to my hometown.
You see, ballet is a chapter of my life that is closed. And, while I cherish the 15 years of memories, it’s painful to think that I can’t have it back.
Or so I thought.
When I was 4 years old, I fell in love with ballet. It soon became a 20-hour-a-week obsession. My closest friends are still the girls I grew up dancing with.
Then, when I was 14, I fell in love with something else: Inner city volunteering.
I spent summers in high school going to the fourth ward of Houston and reading in Spanish to the children there.
By the time I graduated high school, I had this dream of teaching ballet to inner city little girls. The lessons I learned from the disciple of dance are priceless. I credit many of my successes in life to understanding poise and body language. We learned to walk with grace and balance. We learned to respect the art and ourselves. Blending my two passions seemed so logical. Dance was expensive. My family struggled to make ends meet sometimes so I could dance. To them, I could offer my talents for free. I had it all worked out. It's funny how you have so much figured out at 17.
I suppose everyone has a dream like that, something you want to do to change the world. Then other things happen. College happened. Ballet won’t pay the bills. I had to go into a field that would provide a job at the end of four years. (Ironically I went into journalism.)
And I do love writing.
There’s just always been that little voice in the back of my head telling me, “you haven’t done it yet.” That dream I was so certain of at 14 became a great idea for someone else to do.
When I was living in Georgia, I got the chance to get back into dance a little. A program was already established for some girls and I got to help. They were beautiful. Goodness I loved those little girls. That ended and I moved to South Carolina. Here, I was faced with two options: Let that dream die or do something about it.
It only takes a second of courage or a split second of insanity to change the course of your future. I decided to act on my childhood dream, and it worked. In two weeks I will start teaching two classes of little ballerinas to inner city Columbia children.
I’m scared and I’m painfully out of shape. I’ve gained weight since my days as a competition dancer. My legs no longer stretch above my head. My vertigo makes piroettes nearly impossible.
I’m not trying to make little Anna Pavlovas, though. I just want to take a few little girls and give them a good role model, a lesson or two in grace and poise and a healthy respect for themselves.
I doubt myself hourly.
Unlike a test in school, there is little you can do to prepare for something like this. I've never been more uncertain of my abilities in my life. Even the GMAT had a prep book.
I have absolutely no idea if I can do it, but my goodness I’ll try.