My own dance journey started way back aged three in Beckenham when I was forced by my mother to go for walking pigeon toed and being generally hyper active . I thought you had to be very serious /sullen and never once smiled , I remember skipping around the room and thinking I was doing it right if my cheeks flopped so I was serious enough. After my Dad died my mum decided to move north , I was starting a new school and was so happy to be leaving those dreaded ballet lessons behind , only when I got to my new very small school I was told by ( what turned out to be the class bully ) that all of the girls there did ballet on a Wednesday eve, when I said I hated ballet I was told no one would be my friend if I didn't come. So the next Wednesday off I went to the local church hall . I was very behind but started to enjoy the classes. Not long after I took my first ballet exam , the moment I walked in something just clicked and I performed . My examiner was the fabulous Susan Robinson and I was overjoyed when I got the results . I was also told by the same girl that if I didn't give up no one would be my friend . I was going nowhere ! This was the start of my ballet teacher really building me up and for the first time I felt like I was good at something . I was still going just once a week when aged 13 my mum signed me up for summer school at ybss . I was in for the shock of my life , they accidentally put me in a higher group and I found myself on the barre next to the most exquisite dancer called Clair Thomas ( some of you may remember her ) she was phenomenal. All week I struggled to keep up but just loved it . That September I started at a more serious dance school and after being there a week I was lucky enough to be cast in EYB's nutcracker .At 16 I went to full time ballet school. This was a difficult journey for me I had a lot of physical facility but my brain didn't always engage . I remember the principle saying " I've bought a race horse and come away with a donkey " I was relentlessly picked on in the first year , the second year I was ignored which in many ways was worse, in my third and final year things picked up and I felt happy . When I arrived at the airport for my first job Susan Robinson (my first examiner ) was randomly stood there , I went over to tell her thank you , I probably wouldn't have been stood there without that very first exam result . Working life was rocky , some great times and some not so great . I saw the world and made great friends but it was cut short with a knee injury . Fast forward a few years and I had my own daughter . I had no intention of her dancing however her dad was in a west end musical at the time and one of the other dancers mother ran a dance school in our sleepy northern village . I was persuaded to send her to baby ballet there.she was painfully shy so I thought it might help . When it was time for her first exam she was still wanting to stand at the back at look at the floor . In she went and I sat outside with my stomach churning . The teacher was peeping in and said " you just have to come and see this " I couldn't believe my eyes there she was performing her heart out . When the results were out she had scored 97% it was the start of her own journey . She initially preferred the musical theatre side but after becoming a JA age 8 it was all mostly about ballet , she turned down a west end role to focus more on the classical side . We were not thinking of vocational school too seriously until she did both the white lodge summer school and ybss at the end of year 5. She was so desperate to go there that year 6 was a stressful time . Fast forward to year 8 and she is just so happy to be there. I know there's no guarantees with dancing but for now she is just cherishing every moment . Sitting at the ROH watching her perform in the Nutcracker this Christmas I could just feel my heart bursting with pride for her . All the years, of given up weekends summer holidays and well "normal" life in general seemed to finally in that moment feel very worth it.
I have loved reading all your journeys on here . Hope mine wasn't too long winded .