Monday, May 30, 2016

Nature vs Nurture

This weekend Niblet had her first foray into the wonderful world of full length-ballet, performing as a little diamond in a great production of Sleeping Beauty.  Her ballet school is top-notch, without going into to much insider name-dropping.  It costs a small fortune, but she is getting the kind of quality Russian-style training that I got as a kid and trust me, it will serve her well whether or not she wants to pursue dance in the coming years.

So allow me to brag:  she is notably good for a seven-year-old.  I mean, shockingly good.  She is a natural ballerina, her arms (port de bras) just fall into place, her turnout is already better than mine was, she's way more flexible than I was and she's inherited both her parents' musicality. (She was the only kid in her dance who knew her counts on stage). Her line is beautiful.

You know, I spent many years resisting becoming a dance mom.  I was so worried about imposing my own likes and dislikes on her, and frankly did everything I could to encourage her to try anything else (soccer, art, you name it).  But until just a few years ago I was still performing myself with a small local dance company (honestly, the miscarriages derailed a whole fucking lot of my life)....and one thing I can honestly say is that I truly don't feel the need to live vicariously through her.  My dance life has been full on its own.  So I guess "dance mom" for me isn't like those god-awful harpies on the reality TV competitive circuit.... it's more, "mom who knows how to guide kid through dance life."  I can help Niblet not force her turnout and fuck up her knees.  I can identify good teachers.  She and I happen to share a ballet teacher right now.  Miss H has steered Niblet to her first split, while steering me back to dance weight while sculpting my sorry injured legs with isometric exercises. 

Back to this weekend: After the show, we went to dinner at a fancy-ish pizza place, and were seated on an outside patio, where a mom and her twentiesh looking daughter started looking at us.  They were trying not to be obvious about it.  I was clad entirely in black, because I was wearing the backstage uniform of a dresser mom in this production, helping all of the little bunnettes with their hair and costumes.  I still had my name tag on.  Niblet had shed her pink tights but was sporting her bun.  "Were you in a show today?" they asked Niblet.  Turns out, mom and daughter were our dopplegangers a couple of years back, the daughter was a serious dance student for many years, at the very same dance school that Niblet attends.

"Do you like ballet?" asked the Mom of Niblet.
"I love it so muchI loved performing."

I'm not sure I ever mentioned it, but my mom was also a trained ballerina.  She and my dad spent countless hours shuttling me to my classes afterschool, and countless dollars on classes, leotards, tights and shoes.  I have often noted that being an only child enabled my parents to give me this luxury.

Pizza place Mom told me how difficult it was to make the logistics of it all work.  She worked outside the home too, and once her daughter got really good, and wanted to get even better, she was taking as many as five classes a week.  "But I would do it all over again in a heartbeat," she said.

It was only while we were driving home from dinner that I realized that the family in the restaurant mirrored my own - Mom, Dad and single daughter.

I have a crazy demanding job.  Viking husband does as well.  But I am going to try to bend over backwards to give Niblet the opportunities I had (ballet or whatever else her future has in store for her, obviously).  No, it hasn't escaped me, the undeniable fact that because she is my only baby, I can attempt this back-bending with a little more confidence.

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