Throughout this post, you will see various recent photos of me dancing and warming up. These photos are not from my childhood- they're of me now.
Ever since I heard that song, it has become my theme song for my life. While I certainly feel that way about most things in my life, I particularly feel that way about dance. To me, dance is more than a hobby or an art form. It is life. I know most dancers say that, but they haven't danced a day in my pointe shoes to even begin to understand why it's my life.
I began taking dance courses at the age of 4. I never asked to, but my mom's friends were enrolling their daughters in ballet classes; my mom felt like Sabine and I had to try out ballet. While it was unlike my mother to give into peer pressure, I am glad she did. She was never a dancer herself, so I'm glad she gave Sabine and me the opportunity to see if we were dancers.
On our way to L'Ecole de Danse Jacquemin, Sabine tripped over a crack in the sidewalk and tore her tights. Mère, of course, was disgusted because she always liked for us to look our best...ripped tights definitely weren't attractive.
My first dance class went well. I caught on quickly, and I was one of the best in the class...one of the best. There was one other girl who showed potential, and out of respect, we'll call this girl Anouk. Yeah, I clearly do not like her, but I'm not going to use her real name online. She had pretty, curly dark hair done in the perfect ballet bun. Sabine's bun and my bun were sloppy in comparison. Like I said, Mère isn't a dancer, so she wouldn't know how to fix a bun. She tried her best, and I will give her credit and say she improved as the years progressed.
Who cares about my mom now? Back to my story...Anouk was a fabulous ballerina. She received much attention from the instructors, and that angered me as I was just as talented! She may have been beautiful, but she was certainly painfully shy and quiet. I mean painfully as in it bugged the living daylights out of me. I have never met anybody that quiet in my entire life. While I was staring Anouk down, Sabine was telling the dance instructors about her bike and how she just wanted to go home and ride the darn thing. Um, embarrassing much? Aside from that, she didn't pay attention and she wasn't coordinated.
Fortunately, I never had to suffer and have Sabine in my dance class again. She cried as we left the studio, and she almost got hit by a car.
Fast forward ten years later: Sabine claims that she appreciates dance as an art form, but she knows she lacks the coordination to dance herself. She also says that she "adores" watching ballets and my showcases. "Adores" is poor wording; I have seen her in the audience, and she barely pays attention. It's not like Mère is much better; she only pays attention when I dance. Père watches the whole thing, and I'm sure the only reason my brother Sébastien paid attention was so that he could scout out potential girlfriends.
However, Mère and Sabine do pay attention to the ballets we have seen at the Opéra de Lille and the Opéra National de Paris. How offensive. You can pay attention to the pros, but you can't pay attention to your daughter's showcases? Um, I'm going to be an étoile (principal dancer) someday, so they should have paid more attention to my talents.
My lovely twin and mother aside, I have been dancing alongside Anouk forever. I have been competing with her forever. Matters were made worse when Sabine became her best friend at age 8 and she was over at our house all the time. I have heard her talk, though, and her voice is quiet and irritating. It's almost like a whisper. You have to ask her to repeat herself a million times.
Oh, and after I decided to take ballet and character courses at the Chorégraphique National de Roubaix, Mère told Anouk's parents. She switched dance schools (I still took jazz at Jacquemin), too, and I was stuck carpooling with her to Roubaix. I disliked when her parents drove us. They were just as quiet as she was, and to make it worse, they were teachers. Her mom is a math teacher, and her dad teaches German...he was my German teacher back in Lille! Ugh, I knew I disliked them. I can't stand math, and while German is okay, I didn't like that Anouk's father was my teacher. Anouk's father could certainly be loud in class, so why couldn't he talk on the way to the studio?
(Note: I know I over-exaggerated how they didn't talk, but they did talk to me some. Not huge conversations, but they were polite enough.)
Imagine the shock on my face when the instructors asked Anouk to give private lessons to children struggling with ballet! How offensive! I'm just as great! I confronted them about it, and I didn't get a straight answer.
Get this! Anouk plays the flute, too! A quiet flautist...who does that sound like? Melanie. Anouk might as well be Melanie with the addition of dance (Mel can't dance to save her life), though I'm not sure if Anouk is musically and academically gifted like Melanie is. Regardless, A. is a good student. I can tolerate Melanie, though, since when Melanie talks, her voice is loud enough. That is, when Melanie talks. She's better about speaking than Anouk, but she's still not great. They might as well be long-lost twins.
Enough about Anouk. I had problems that were worse than her existence. I was headed on a path of self-destruction, and I hurt my sister and the new girl at school...amongst other things. Life wasn't great. Dance- ballet in particular- helped me feel something. It was the only place that my problems seemed to fade away, and it was the only normalcy I had. Without dance, who knows what my life would have been like?
Although I'm not always very nice to her, my sister did buy me a lovely necklace. I was shocked when she handed it to me today. It has a beautiful ballerina charm:
Doesn't it look great with my leotard? I don't wear jewelery (with the exception of my earrings and lucky bracelet) when I dance, but I had to get a picture of me in my ballet gear with the necklace:
~Sandrine la ballerine