Discovering A New Art

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My entire view and knowledge of ballet changed completely when I enrolled at a ballet academy in the fourth grade. Prior to this monumental year, I, a naive child,  had been fooled by the grace of profession dancers, and I had innocently believed that ballet was a simple, easy art that rarely required any thought. I was to be proved entirely wrong.

       Starting from the first grade, I'd attended various "kiddie" dance schools, each run by a single, amateur dancer.  My parents had dumped thousands of dollars on these playful, fun, relaxed schools for three years. To be honest, I actually enjoyed these classes. They were play sessions for bouncy, energetic children. They provided charming childhood memories, and I smile today when I think of my experiences there.

       At the start of my fourth grade school year, a family friend, who happened to be a ballerina as well, informed my parents about an excellent ballet school in Greenwich, Connecticut, where there were small class sizes, and excellent teachers. Immediately, my mom searched for more information about this school, and finally, satisfied, she enrolled me.

      The ride from my home in downtown Harrison, in New York, to Greenwich, Connecticut, took an entire twenty-minutes. Back then, my home in Harrison was a completely downtown area, so 20 minutes was eternity for me.

    After the ride to the school, I was forced to endure two hours of non-stop complaining and shouting from my teacher, Sarah. At first, I began extremely annoyed, and I hated this new version of ballet, as well as the strict teacher. However, gradually, I began to treasure it. I also began to respect my teacher, and I felt grateful to be her student. Now, I know that I could not have possibly improved at ballet if it weren’t for Sarah. She’d continuously pestered me to straighten my legs, get rid of my “chicken wing arms”, point my toes, suck the stomach in, turn out, straighten my back, and keep the shoulders down. By the end of the year, I had become a completely different dancer. I was disciplined, capable, and extremely hard-working.

While improving my skills, I’d also discovered the beauty and pleasure in ballet. After several months at Greenwich Ballet Academy, I’d already adored the art of ballet. Attending three times a week, the dance room was a place where I could forget about my worries with school work, problems with friends, and even disappointments at home. Dancing became my outlet. Each time I entered the school, I felt refreshed and excited, energized and ready to put my “best foot forward”.

Though I’d only attended Greenwich Ballet Academy for one year, it certainly changed my life. It robbed me of my daydreaming and ”playing” time, and replacing it with the love and practice of a new art.

When I moved here, to West Windsor, in the fifth grade, I enrolled in another ballet school. The skills and attitude I’d picked up at Greenwich Ballet Academy enabled me to participate in the “plus program”, the special ballet program for talented dancers considering becoming professionals. Without a doubt, I could not have possibly been able to attend this program, nor continue with my ballet studies up to today, if I had not stumbled upon the ballet academy during my time in Harrison.

Now, I am attending ballet class six times a week--a total of fourteen hours in total, and I am a part of the junior company at my current ballet school. A single year with a dedicated teacher at an amazing school has brought me so far, and I cannot imagine my life today if I hadn’t been fortunate enough to meet and be a student under Sarah.  Thank you for all you’ve done for me. I will never forget my time in your class.

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