In my very beautiful and small home town there are at least three or four dance studios. Apparently we like to dance in Western Massachusetts. So when I was about four or five because either my friends at school were doing it or maybe because I was always dancing around the house, my mom signed me up for ballet and tap. I was psyched. In my mind I was already the graceful lead in The Nutcracker with my beautiful tutu flowing as I leaped up and down like a swan. In reality I was crashing glasses to the floor and stomping around like heavy machinery. I looked real cute though with my Shirley Temple curls and my new baby pink leotard. I was real excited about my tap shoes too. I loved to make them tap and I do remember being told I could only practice in the basement since I'm sure my love for the dance would ruin my Mom's freshly waxed wood floors.
So I remember loving the huge mirrors at the dance studio. They were floor to ceiling and wrapped all around the room. I could see myself at all times from any angle I wanted. I don't think it was vanity, I think I just was enthralled with watching myself. I was a short five year old (I'm a short 29 year old) and actually seeing my entire self was very new and exciting apparently. When it came to class time, all the little five year old would be lined up against the balance bar and the teacher would walk down the line giving instructions and helping the little ones like a gardener watering her perfect pastel bunch of flowers. I'd imagine each one with a plie like a perfect tiny dancer with grace and beauty. Then there was me, watching myself in the mirror over and over again. A little clumsy, a little lopsided and I'm know I fell down a time or two. I'm sure I wasn't the worst one in class and I'm sure, as all my teachers have told my Mom, I was kind and a good listener. But I loved to watch myself. I was told again and again to pay attention, listen, stop looking at yourself! I remember one time we were suppose to do four or five steps in a row with arm movements. Although I am really good at listening and playing with my phone at the same time, physically I'm not a good multitasker. I could not get these steps for the life of me. I was pulled aside and worked with an older student who tried over and over again to teach it to me. I would either forget one, not do the right order, forget my hands, wrong foot first. The same problems over and over but I was oblivious. I didn't get frustrated I just knew eventually class would be over and maybe if I was lucky we'd stop for ice cream at home. Or I'd just get to ride in the car because I really, really love riding in the car (still do).
I knew something was up when there was a day when I was allowed to just play in the mirror THE WHOLE TIME. Everyone else was trying on costumes for this recital everyone else kept talking about and I was told I didn't have a costume right now I could play with whatever I wanted in the studio. I think I hung on the bar for a while and I know I made faces in the mirror for a really extended period of time. A few days later my Mom told me I wasn't going to be in the recital. Being that my parents are fantastic she ended the sentence with, "the reason you are not going to be in the recital is we are going to Disney World. Wouldn't you rather go to Florida on vacation instead of dancing in a silly dance show?" I'm pretty sure they told my Mom that I didn't have that special dance gene, or even the basic ability for dance and my amazing family decided that I deserved a vacation for that.
So I never went back to that dance class. I think we turned my tap shoes into ruby slippers for my Dorothy costume for Halloween. I tried dance twice more and spectacularly failed at both those times as well. SO all in all, I was kicked out of dance for being a bad dancer and paying too much attention to myself in the mirror.