Best Foot Forward

My true story of struggling with ballet and finally discovering who I am and what I want to be, starting at the beginning.


1. The Nutcracker


I was five when I first set my foot on a dance floor. I remember the rubber floors, the shining mirrors, and the barres lining the room. It felt like a dream to me. I stayed with that studio for four years.

One time, my mother drove me to a local professional ballet company for open auditions for “The Nutcracker”. My mother pinned the cloth number on my leotard and kissed me good luck before I was ushered into the studio. It was huge. The roof had to have been 30 feet tall, the floors clean. When we were practicing jumps, one of the instructors joked that if we touched the ceiling, he’d give us a hundred dollars. I came out of the audition confident, energy buzzing through my body.

The next three days were the longest days of my life. One day, the letter came, and I ran inside screaming. I ripped open the white envelope, reading the neat lettering.

I was chosen to play a mouse in The Nutcracker.

Some would scoff at that role, but I was thrilled. Practiced began the next week, and I never felt happier. I made a friend named Ellen, who I haven’t seen in years. In about three months, we moved into the theatre we would perform in. We would sit for hours, up until 3 in the morning. I’d then sleep for 3 ½ hours and go to class, then go to practices an hour after school was over.

But of course, there were bad parts.

We were in a room where there were two dressing rooms set up with white cloths and metal poles. The were pretty big, and extremely unstable. I was standing in line with my friends, changing back into my costume after intermission. We had an actual show that night, and we were all buzzing with excitement. Some boys in the show were screwing around near the girl’s dressing room, and one of the knocked one of the poles.

I didn’t see it falling until it was too late.

I got caught under the dressing room, one of the poles colliding with my right leg. I remember the sheer terror I felt trapped under the metal and cloths, yelling that I was trapped. Ironically, I was the only one to get trapped. One of the instructors came running in, helping to lift the heavy metal poles and free me.

Luckily, I had already performed. I sat through the rest of the show until bows pressing ice against my severely bruised leg. I limped through the rest of the shows. I still have a mark on my leg where the skin never fully healed.

The next year I need glasses. I auditioned for The Nutcracker with my glasses on, giving my all. Three days later, I received a letter that said I wasn’t what they were looking for. I got the same letter the next three years I auditioned until I gave up.

I went to a new studio that I go to to this day. I was having a great time until my third year with the studio, when I was again injured due to dance.

Due to my instructor.




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