To All The Little Ballerinas…

“…To every little girl who has ever put on a beautiful tutu, was lost in the music, and felt like a princess…”

If you ever want an emotional pick me up, I’ll tell you what you have to do. Put on a tutu, a tiara, and some ballet slippers, sit amongst an admiring group of three to five year olds and teach them how to dance. Let them share their thoughts with you, ask questions, hold your hand-they will love you purely and admirably. They will compliment you, try to impress you, and will call you “Ballerina”, as if it were your first name. Every time I teach the youngest of the young dancers (and especially in a birthday party setting like today), I am transported back to a time when I was young, and had the inkling of an idea that I wanted to be a ballerina. And look at me now…regardless of the many ups and downs, I’m here. I AM a ballerina.

“Dancing is for you and no one else. It is a gift that no one can ever take away and a gift that you control and harness the power of.”

So to every little girl who has ever put on a beautiful tutu, was lost in the music, and felt like a princess, some thoughts:

1. HAVE FUN: Never stop enjoying yourself. If dance is what makes you happy, remember that and hold that truth close to your heart. Never let anyone tell you you’re too girly or that you are not strong or not an athlete. Ballerinas are the ultimate champions of strength, beauty, and poise, and if someone disagrees, let them try on some pointe shoes and report back…

2. BE BOLD: March to the beat of your own drum (quite literally). Don’t worry about feeling silly or looking different, or not reaching a milestone at the same time as a peer. Focus on yourself. Everyone is different and beautiful in their own way. The world is not looking for identical, personality-devoid ballerinas, they are waiting for you, regardless of your flaws. No one is perfect, and you deserve the same chance as any other fresh, young dancer.

3. BELIEVE IN YOURSELF: Dancing is for you and no one else. It is a gift that no one can ever take away and a gift that you control and harness the power of. But always be wary. The minute you lose the joy and inspiration that got you to this moment, take a step back. Remember who you are and why you love to dance. You will face a million and one roadblocks trying to excel, but the stories and experiences along the way will last a lifetime. Your talent will set you apart from the crowd. Your passion will fuel your journey. You can overcome anything that gets in your way.

4. REMEMBER-YOU ARE LOVED: You are amazing. Ballet is an impossible feat, a form of dance that imposes great demands on the body. But do not stress. You are never alone. Fellow dancers, friends, family, and community will be there every step of the way. Take pride in who you are and what you do. You are loved…and so, don’t forget to love yourself.

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