Center Stage

“A pirouette is not a pirouette unless you complete it.”

Outside, I was peeping through that small window that enthralled me to a magical world of young pointy toes. Eight and a half minutes on passé retirés. Ten minutes on barres stretching arms to a 45° angle. A thirty-second pause at the mirror, adjusting and correcting the poses. Sometimes a scene of physical movement overwhelms me, as if it brings me a complete sense of freedom: liberating and burst free.

I’ve been trying to summarise the whole routines but I can’t. The class was over. They continued practicing. The pirouette reprimands. They worked twice as hard. The teacher saw me and I cringed. Door flung open and I could feel a gush of a cold air condition gushed through my hair. To my surprise, I was invited to witness the practice.

“Focus. Undivided attention.”

Life in general? That’s a tough one. Mistakes made. I am still learning. Sometimes, problems can affect our mood and make us vulnerable. One of the girls was tired and annoyed. Now I have a better understanding of the works needed to be done here. It is not always a happy class, neither do we in our lives. But class is also an escape from the world, so there’s that. I can give myself permission to think of nothing except ballet, just for as long they dance.

“Not letting setbacks get to you.”

It’s a habit. A vigorous turn and twirls in life. Making conscious effort every time. Pushing myself believing that I can.  Those are the habits they were trying to cultivate in class and along with every corrections they received, they never complaint, not once. It is a challenge, but there can be no progress without change. The way I see it, ballet is a journey of discoveries, never about standing still.


My DNA dictates that I don’t have a beautiful body for ballet. Medically, my spine is to weak for twirls and turns. My hips are too wide, my feet don’t have an arch, my arms and hands will never be graceful enough. My arabesques will always be low. My DNA dictates I will never be fit to be a ballerina.


My DNA gives me a strong body. It has muscles, legs that jump and toes that wiggles when it’s cold. I have fingers that glide smoothly on the strings and arms which could be held by a friend whom needed my support. My DNA dictates I have a brain and I have made my mind a long time ago, to be who I am.

“When you feel small, DANCE big!”

‘Dance big!’ The teacher shouted.  They looked in the mirror and think : it’s never going to be beautiful. I’ll never have the lower back flexibility, slender shape, mobility and what’s not. Don’t go there. Stretch as far as you can reach. That day they stretch for the stars.Dance big. Then they tumbled, pirouettes failed, confidence crumbled. It can make you feel small. But it is not the time to cave in. Apply the corrections, try again and dance with conviction.


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