For a few months, I had similar visions of fame and stardom. I would become a principal dancer; I would be the first ballerina to perform 40 fouettés (which shows I hadn’t done my research, since that’s already been done). I was going to meet and dance with all of my favorite dancers. Then I had to face reality: most professional dancers start dancing at the age of eight or ten (or often younger). At fourteen, I was going to be catching up for years, if it was possible at all.
I was annoyed, annoyed at God for not making me want to dance sooner, and annoyed at myself for taking so long to realize what I should have been doing. What, then, was I supposed to be doing with my newfound passion?
The next year, I was asked to be the Teacher’s Assistant for some of the younger classes. As I helped with the classes, I saw how my love of working with young children, my enjoyment of being in charge, and my passion for ballet all fit together. I saw that I could satisfy all of those by teaching, and that became my new dream.
As time went on, what I wanted to do changed slightly. I realized that I wanted to not only teach ballet, I wanted to own my own studio.
Now obviously, if you’re going to teach dance, you need to major in dance in college. So I looked at Christian colleges with dance programs, found one with a very solid program, and applied and auditioned.
I didn’t get in.
I had been expecting that, really. I had only been dancing for four years at that point. I had made my back-up plan, like a smart person should. I would take a gap year, work, keep dancing, and audition again next year.
And then another wrench got thrown into my lovely plans.
Two weeks before the start of the school year, the studio that I had been dancing at finally got around to telling me that, since I had graduated, I was now too old to dance with them any more. I needed to find a new studio in two weeks. While on vacation, no less.
My mom happened to remember the name of a studio that one of my friends danced at, and I sent them, along with several other studios, a slightly panicked email. They responded the next day. I never heard back from any of the other studios. It was pretty clear where I was supposed to go.
At this studio, I found a friendship with the other girls in my class and with my teachers that had been absent at my other studio. Partly this was due to the much smaller class sizes, but a large part of it was due to the ballet philosophy of the teachers.
This was now the third studio that I had attended. At the first, ballet was an afterthought. That studio competed in one particular style of dance, and all else fell by the wayside. At my second studio, ballet was everything. It was a professional academy, and it’s sole goal was to prepare its students to be professional dancers.
My time at the third studio showed my a middle ground. Ballet was something to work for, to excel at, but it was far from the all-consuming end to everything. At all three of the studios I attended, I took note of things that I liked and didn’t like, to help me form my studio someday. But I took the most from my time at the third studio.
I was definitely where I needed to be, as hard as that was to see at first, and it wasn’t just the future usefulness that showed it to me. That year, I had the opportunity to dance in the regional children’s ballet production of the Nutcracker. I was in Waltz of the Flowers, an immensely fun, but also long and exhausting dance. There was a girl in my class that, we found out, was also a Christian. Years later, through the providence of God, we reconnected, and are practically sisters now.
I didn’t see that part then, of course. But looking back at it now, there is no question that God put me right where he wanted me, in a way that carries eternal consequences, and I was privileged to be a part of it.
When audition time came around again, I was ready. I knew this was the year that I would get into the dance program. Unfortunately, God’s plans failed once again to line up with mine. For a second time, I was rejected from the program.