The Dressing Room 9:45 AM

When I took ballet, the classes were in an old gym and the bar consisted of a line of folding chairs. That was my first year. My third year I attended classes in a very small studio with actual mirrors and bars. I decided that ballet was really not for me though I don't know if it was ballet or that I didn't really like the teacher. IN any case, I do not know which form of ballet I was learning. It was a small town and, well, you take what you can get.

My idea of "ballet" has definitely changed. When S fell in love with Angelina Ballerina I set forth to find a "close" studio or facility that offered ballet classes. It happened that the studio nearest our house is actually quite good. I have since been educated in the different schools of ballet, the difference between taking classes and studying ballet, what to look for in a good studio, the importance of the flooring, etc. You get the idea.

There are many wonderful qualities that the girls are learning in their "study of ballet," as you can imagine. They perform twice a year on stage in front of a few hundred people, they are learning to carry themselves, and in many cases, they are finding confidence within themselves as they might be the only kid they know at their school learning ballet.

They are also learning to be little adults... and how to have fun in the dressing room! Maybe the thing I was missing in my ballet days was, in actuality, the dressing room! The dressing room is a world that belongs to the girls; it is their space away from instruction and parents.

My days in the dressing room were short lived. I think that S was 5 when I was kicked out. The only reason I open the dressing room door these days is to "encourage" her to hurry. The last mother of our class was kicked out of the dressing room last fall. Now it is all about them. They seem to have a lot of fun behind the closed door, while the parents, patiently wait and listen to the screaming, laughter, and chatter of 8 girls, most of which have been together for the past 2 years. (S and another girl are the old timers in that this is their 5th and 4th year respectively)

One parent ventured back yesterday while the girls were dressing after class. While she was gone, S ran into the lobby half dressed "where are my underwear?" I said I didn't know but if they weren't there they were probably left in my office. (It is her job to remember such things as she changes in my office on Mondays) I told her not to worry about it and finish dressing.

The mother came out laughing. She said that she had been there when the missing underwear was discovered. She said S put her hands on her hips and loudly announced "Oh Great! Where are my underwear!" One mother commented that her daughter would have been upset about the situation. Not S. Amazingly, ballet is her world. I ensure that she is where she needs to be in a timely fashion, do her hair, and am there to listen etc; but, ballet is something that belongs completely to her.