“Stand up straighter. Tuck your butt in more. Suck your gut in. Don’t exaggerate your movements so much.” I tried all of that. Again and again. But my body just wasn’t on board with my ballerina ambitions.
My mom and my sister were both graceful ballerinas, I wanted to be part of that club! So when I got the opportunity to take ballet lessons, I was all in! I remember standing in that dance studio feeling so out of place, and it didn’t take long for François, my statuesque, french ballet instructor, to let me know that I was far from graceful ballerina status.
Her choreography directives were dripping in the most decadent accent set against a backdrop of classical music playing on an old record player in the corner. I’d stumbled through arabesques and attempted pirouettes, and she’d sigh heavily to let me know I wasn’t hitting the mark.
I loved dancing, I still do (dance parties are an everyday occurrence in my world) but I hated all the rules that came with the ballet slippers. I’d try my best to follow along with the rest of the class, but I always ended up drifting off into my own little dance party. So it didn’t come as total shock when after a few weeks of classes and a challenging recital, François told my mama that I was no longer welcome in her class. Yep. I got kicked out.
And you know what, I don’t blame her. She was there to teach her students ballet and although I had convinced myself that’s what I wanted to learn, the truth was I didn’t. Not really. I wanted to be like my mom and my sister, but dancing ballet wasn’t for me. I just didn’t love it enough to do the work and I respect François for seeing that and helping to redirect me.
Now, I may not have had such an evolved outlook on the whole situation at the time, but I’m pretty sure that experience helped teach me how to recognize when I’m following someone else’s arrow and it equipped me with the tools to be able to course correct before I get too deep into someone else’s dream. Besides, I made a much better tap dancer. It allowed me to be way more expressive and dramatic which I loved!
Over the years, as I’ve pursued my music career I’ve had several moments that resembled that ballet class. Feeling out of place, dancing my own little dance while being told I’m not doing it right. But I know who I am and the older I get the more comfortable I get with “not fitting the mold” The moral of the story, just be yourself. It's so much more fun! :)
Have you ever been told that you don’t belong? I’d love to hear your story!
Thanks for reading! I'll see you at the Opry!