This is my earliest memory of ballet:
It was a humid summer night and I couldn’t sleep. Got out of bed and walked out into the living room, where my mom was watching tv. Judging from the house where this memory takes place, and the fact that my parents were still together, I was three years old. Maybe three and a half. I sat by her feet, and instead of telling me to go back to bed, she let me stay and watch with her, which was totally special and made the whole thing magic already.
She was watching a ballet on PBS. It was sooooo beautiful. There was a whole flock of ballerinas, all wearing the soft, classical length tutu, and all of them had dark hair like me.
It finished, and I looked up at my mom, still caught up in the gorgeous ballet world and said, “that’s what I want to be when I grow up.”
I think this is where most parents would pat their kid and say something non-comital like, “ok Honey, we’ll sign you up for a class, now go to bed, sweet dreams Darling.”
But not my ma!
She looked down at me and said, “Oh, Honey. People train their entire lives to become ballerinas. If that’s what you want to do, you have to decide now.”
Now? Holy Crap, what?!
I had this horrible vision of myself at a wizened old seventeen years old, locked into the profession of dance and cursing my three year old self, yelling to the heavens, “Why?!!! I could’ve been a Scientist!!!!! NOooooooo!!!”
Pretty sure ballet was never mentioned again.