Tuesday, July 24

If Ballet Were Easy, Everyone Would Be Doing It

The art of dance. Ballet. Tap. When I was about 6 years old, I absolutely hated my name. Asking my Mom over and over why she picked this stupid name and how do I change it? How old do I have to be? Can you just call me something else? Puh-leeeeze?? It worked out weird for me and my sister...neither of us use our given first names so we go by, and have aways gone by, our middle names. And, to make it more confusing for a little kid, my middle name was too long to write, so it was shortened to a nick name. Any idea how tough that was on the first day of school? I still find myself trying to explain why I am called a name that isn't even any of my names. I think I have more issues with this than I realized.....

Ballet and Tap. I lived for it. Dreamed of being a famous dancer named "Tina the Ballerina". I would have a beautiful, sparkly pink tutu and dance all over the world. When I was in dance class, I told my teacher of my dream....every. single. class. She would always smile and tell me I was cute, which to me meant I would soon be Tina the Ballerina for real!

I loved everything about it. The costumes. The shoes. The music. My Mom bought the Nutcracker so I could hum along and practice, practice, practice.

I went to class every Saturday just knowing that I was the best. I mean, really. Who looked better? No one. Who danced better? No one. I was always in the front row and the teacher asked me to repeat steps just to show the other girls how it was done. We were getting ready for the recital. I asked the teacher if she would put me in the program as Tina. She said she would...I was Tina!!

The Saturday before the recital, the teacher asked my Mom if she could speak to her in private for just a minute. I raced to the car with my head full of tutus, ballet shoes and crowds of people throwing roses at me...Tina the Ballerina. My Mom came out to the car and she was crying her eyes out. What...was she so happy that I was chosen to be the star dancer that tears of joy were pouring out of her?

At this point, I have lost all memory of exactly what happened next. I only remember getting home and running to my room in tears....and I remember that this was my last dance class. Seems that Ms." I should be a Rockette or something" had told my Mom that there was no place for me in the recital. She asked my Mom not to bring me back to class..any class..because my dancing was so out of whack that I was a distraction to the rest of the class. Cruel. Mean. Not Nice. All this time, I believed I was just the best thing ever and I guess I was really like this:

I was heartbroken and so very sad for about a day. It's amazing how resilient kids are. I bounced right back and decided I wanted to open a restaurant. I still hated my name and constantly asked how to change it and when could I change it, but I got over that, too!

So...all of this leads to what? Be nice to little kids. Don't squash their dreams. Let them dance. There is a Tina in all of us....don't lose her. ;)


Bob said...

That teacher ought to have been bitch-slapped. What a horrendous cow.
To adversely affect a child in such a manner is reprehensible!
Wish I could have seen you dance -Tina. Bet is WAS good. Nah. It would have been Great.


jbrealtor said...

If it makes you feel better I know several people named Tina who do not have Tina in their name. Also, I had a phys ed teacher all thru High School who referred to me as "butterfingers". To this day I believe I am a Klutz. Of course i never told my parents, but if someone had done that to my kid they would be lucky to be fired.


The Glitter Fairy said...

Gee, Tina, that's such a sad story. It's amazing what teachers used to get away with (in the old days...). Glad you handled it so well. I'll bet you're one heck of a dancer!
Thanks for stopping by my blog, too.
Now go dance!

Tonya said...

I always told my boys that everyone has something that they are really good at they just have to figure out what it is.
So you may not have been "Tina the Ballerina" but you sure could be "Bonnie the Best Blogger".
I really enjoyed this post, I can just picture you as a little girls dancing your heart out oblivious to the world around you.
That had to be heart wrenching for your Mom.

Barb said...

Those people are "fire starters." I had three people in my life do that to me--an elementary music teacher who told me to drop the trumpet (I went to state several times in high school for trumpet), an art teacher who told me I had no talent and not to sign up for her class the following year (I'm now crafting and enjoying it), and a typing teacher who told me I wouldn't cut it as an office worker (I worked for 15 years as a typist [114 words a minute]). So, we need those people to force us to say, "I'll show them." They make us the best we can be:)

Rosemary said...

oh cassie, i'm sorry but that story is so funny. Not that you got kicked out of ballet, just the way you told it!LOL! That doesn't happen now days, I can tell you. I have my own ballerina except she really is one of the best :) Shes a very serious dancer for 16. Check out my blog around may archives for pics of her dancing :) rosemary http://journals.aol.com/rwa3457986/retro-rosie

Susie Q said...

This was a horrible experience for you and oh how I hope that lady had her *come uppance* eventually. To hurt a child is, well, one of the worst things imaginable.

I thought your previous post was so special...like you, I have always thought that if someone would hurt (emotionally or physically) a child, the elderly, the disabled, an animal)
they are the lowest form of human being. It is the worst crime.

My husband was a little league coach when he was in college and he believed that everyone played, and you celebrate with pizza and ice cream whether you won or did not win! He just loved the game and wanted the kids to love it as well...to learn the fundamentals and do their best. He was laughed at, mocked and eventually asked to give up his position.

He did not coach again until years later and by then, more people seemed to understand this way of working with kids. Or he was just older and more forceful and did not care if anyone complained! *smile*