Elle performed her first ballet solo ever on Saturday!
I’m not sure who was more nervous: me or her. Not only was it her first solo ever; it was also her first solo ever wearing pointe shoes. We meticulously did her hair and make-up. We got to the venue two hours early. She stretched and ran through her dance in her mind and with her director. She was prepared and ready to go.
After waiting what seemed like forever, her music started and she began to dance. She was dancing along gracefully and moving towards a corner for a leaps pass and the next thing I knew she was on the floor.
Right in the middle of her dance!
My heart sunk for her.
But she popped up faster than anything I have seen before and with a smile on her face.
Many in the audience (including her grandma) didn’t even know it happened. She performed the rest of her routine beautifully including her turn pass which is the most difficult part of her routine.
After she nailed her ending, I ran back to the dressing room to help her change into her next costume and because I knew she would be crying. And she was, but with a big smile on her face. Everyone was around her supporting her and telling her how impressed they were with her ability to carry on. One director said Elle handled the fall like a professional. Another mom came over crying as she hugged Elle because she was so impressed with how beautifully and courageously Elle danced.
I’ll admit I was crying too. Mainly because I knew how much time and effort and practice Elle had put into this routine and then to have it literally slip away was a disappointment.
But we couldn’t dwell on the solo long because in less than 30 minutes Elle had to be on stage again performing in a trio. I wondered if the fall would be on the back of her mind or if she could get over it and move on. I was nervous the whole time she danced hoping and praying she wouldn’t fall again.
Thankfully, she and her teammates killed their trio and there were no slips or falls.
Later the awards ceremony came and we listened intently.
Elle took first place in her division!
Now granted, she was the ONLY ONE in her division, but she still got first place.
In addition, despite her fall, she was awarded high-pointe or first place out of all the ballet pieces in the intermediate division.
It was an emotional, exciting day and I took some away some life lessons:
We all fall. Daily. Sometimes hourly. Despite our time and efforts and intentions. We don’t plan to, but we all fall.
But, hopefully, we all get up. We go on. We try again tomorrow or even 30 minutes later. We don’t let a past stumble get in the way of our next attempt.
And perhaps the most important lesson from Elle’s dance day is that we are the only ones in our division.
In layman dance terms, no one else has our same music, our same body, our same dance style, our same costume or our same choreographer. In life terms, nobody else has our same background, our same challenges, our same gifts, our same weaknesses, our same strengths, our same experiences, our same limitations, our same beliefs or our same expectations. It is just me, by myself, in my own division and you by yourself in your own division.
We are not competing with anyone else in this life.
Truly understanding that we are in a division all by ourselves relieves us and frees us to take risks and chances. It also frees us to be gentle and kind with ourselves as we push ourselves to get up and keep going. When we realize that it doesn’t matter how anybody else is dancing, we can dance in the way that is best suited to us. We can enthusiastically cheer on and root for others in their division because our place will not be compromised at all.
It comforts me to know that we can all take first place in our own division even if our routine includes a fall.
Turns out there is more to dance than hair, make-up and way too much money per month.
(Sidenote: Elle’s trio won first place for their division as well. They were not the only ones in their division 🙂 They also took first place out of all the duos and trios that entered the intermediate division! Elle came home with two first-place necklaces and two big, blue ribbons, despite her fall early in the day.)