When I was a little girl and for almost 20 years, ballet was my whole world. As it was world ballet day yesterday, I thought I would tell you a little about my life as a ballet dancer from the age of 4 till 23. This was my ballet dream.
The beginning of my love of ballet
I have always been a girly girl, who’s favourite colour is pink (still is to this day). My first ballet show was with my older sister’s ballet teacher and I was a baby monkey in the jungle book. From that day on, I was hooked. Mum decided to send me to my own ballet classes at aged 4 and I stayed with the same teacher until the day I left for dance collage at aged 20.
That particular teacher took me through from Pre Primary to Advanced 2 in the Royal Academy of Dance syllabus and all the grades and major exams in between. I am quite proud to be able to say I have done all the exams in the RAD system. Every year, I remember preparing for the exams in June, which was our winter, and standing with my hair slicked back and my leotard crisp clean and smelling of hairspray and nerves at the door to the exam room. From the age of 9, I did all my exams on my own because the other students dropped away from ballet and it was just me left.
As the year continued into summer again we would get ready for the annual ‘Stars of Tomorrow’ dance show and this was my first experience of what it truly is to perform.
There is absolutely no feeling that can compare to or come close to being on stage. I can’t even explain what it feels like. There’s something of a rush that occurs and it leaves me with such a high that I never needed drugs or any other foreign substance to get that incredible feeling.
My first rejection
Around the age of 9 or 10 years old, I went to my first audition. ‘The King and I’ (amateur production). I was so excited, baring in mind I love musicals, always have. Anyway, all kids of that age group and up auditioned for roles as the King’s children. We did a bit of dancing and some singing. Unfortunately, I didn’t get chosen for the show and it absolutely floored me. I was devastated.
Painful as it was, receiving my first rejection at such a young age set me up to be able to deal with it quicker. When a child gets everything they put their mind to, the first rejection is hell. I consider myself lucky in that aspect.
Furthering my ballet into something more senior and serious
At aged 14 I attended my second audition, Zimbabwe Junior National Ballet. Wow, the nerves were next level. Being in the National ballet meant more shows, a bit more prestige and a whole lot more ballet classes. Basically my dream come true.
I GOT IN!!!! Oh wow, an absolute ballet dream coming true. In National ballet I got to perform in the International arts festival, experience my first full ballet and dance along side a Bolshoi ballet dancer. So many incredible experiences. In amongst some tough times, I am choosing to focus on the incredible experiences I got from my time there.
I think this post is going to turn into 2 posts… so much of my life was ballet. Can’t fit it all into 1 post.
I hope you have enjoyed reading about the beginnings of the most important thing in my life for so much of it. Did you dance as a kid? If so, what discipline? Is there anything you were so passionate about as a kid it consumed your whole being?
Until next time…