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Leap of Faith This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     I’ll always remember the day I put on my first pair of ballet shoes, slipped into my pink tights and leotard, slicked my hair back into a tight bun, and made my way to the dance studio. My mother was a dancer and I wanted nothing more than to follow in her footsteps. I watched her old dance videos in awe of the way she was able to twirl and leap, defying gravity. I stepped into that class with all the confidence in the world.

After class, my mom asked how I liked it. I thought before answering, replaying what had happened in that dance studio: standing side by side with those experienced and poised girls, all my fumbles, mess ups, and poor balance had made me want to cry. Knowing that it was only my first day gave me hope, so I told my mom I couldn’t wait to dance again.

Weeks passed and I still saw no sign of improvement in my ballet ability. I wanted so desperately to move like my mom and be as light as a feather, but maybe dancing just wasn’t for me. Then my dance instructor announced an upcoming recital. Millions of thoughts rushed through my head - falling on my face in front of hundreds of people or, worse, falling off the stage and letting my mom down. This last thought scared me the most.

Another month passed and though I practiced as much as I could, I never quite got the hang of it. Day after day I went over the steps, wishing I could perform them. It was impossible for me to move my body in the delicate way required of an outstanding ballet dancer. I had to tell my mom that dancing wasn’t my thing.

With extreme nervousness and shame, I went to my mom, but I couldn’t say the words. Instead, they came out as sobs Gently, my mother asked what was wrong. Haltingly, I told her how impossible dancing was for me and that she would hate me if she ever saw my sorry ballet skills. My mother simply laughed and took me into the backyard. She promised that from now on, in addition to dance practices, she would show me all she knew about ballet. She wiped the tears from my face and I smiled.

My mom quickly discovered what a dancing disaster I was, but she still taught me with the greatest patience, love, and understanding. When I would leap and fall, she was there to catch me. When I lost my balance on a spin, she held me up. If I ever became discouraged or frustrated, she encouraged me to continue.

By the time the recital arrived, I was as prepared as I could be. My mom sat anxiously in the audience ready to see her klutz of a daughter dance on stage. The music began and my heart started to race. I could hear the silence of the audience. Breathing steadily, I positioned myself and began moving to the music without missing a step. When the music stopped, I ran backstage and squealed in excitement.

After the recital, my mom found me and took me in her arms. She smiled and told me how proud she was; all my hard work had paid off. As much as I would have liked to take credit for my performance, I knew I couldn’t. I looked my mom in the eye and told her she was the best mom in the world and there was no way this could have happened without her. Through all my frustration and disappointment, she was there to keep me going no matter how hard I fell, how uncoordinated I was, or how out of place I felt. I realized one important fact: whenever I leap, my mom will be there to catch me if I fall.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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This article has 3 comments. Post your own now!

Becca95 said...
Oct. 4, 2011 at 9:05 am
This was an amazing story! Great Job!
 
Katie1234 said...
Oct. 3, 2011 at 1:07 pm
I dance as well, and I know how much I fell at first. I fumbled and messed up, but the more I practiced and asked for help... well, the more confidence I got. I am so glad that you asked for help and kept on practicing. It's great to see considering how many people just quit.
 
Hover This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jun. 24, 2011 at 10:38 am

Love it!!! I'm so glad you told your mom, so she could help you. :)  Do you still do ballet?

Great writing! :D

 
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