Monday, December 10, 2007

December 10 – Day 84

I fight with an image in my head of myself as an awkward chubby little girl who wanted to be graceful and pretty like all the gymnasts and figure skaters she would watch on TV. Every time I put on a leotard and ballet slippers I see that girl. Before I came here I didn’t think much about what this class would mean for me. I just assumed I would be terrible and would secretly hate it, while people at home would crack jokes about me trying to be delicate. What this experience has given me I never could have imagined. It has given me strength, courage and determination. It has taught me never to lose my sense of humor and that I am truly at my best when I stop thinking so much and just enjoy the process. Today was our last ballet class before the final performance and to my surprise I became emotional at the end. Larissa Borisovna Dmitrieva is just magnificent. Even at eighty I can still imagine her flying through the air on the Bolshoi stage. She is so intimidating and yet so loving. She is the epitome of the grace and elegance I have always longed to possess and even when we struggled, even when it was clear that we were not dancers (well, that I was not a dancer), she never treated us like anything less than primas. I might never have the opportunity to dance like that again and in the end I loved it so much. I could look in the mirror at the image of myself in a scoop neck leotard and see nothing of that little girl. In fact for the first time in so very long, I looked at my reflection and was proud of what I saw. She taught me how to feel beautiful and even at times made me feel like I could fly.