Friday, January 6, 2012

Tiny Dancer

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Clover took her first ballet class recently and she loved it.

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The session ended the week before Christmas and on the final day of class, the parents were allowed in to observe (and in some cases take a ton of pictures ;)

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The whole thing was incredibly adorable.

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Getting to see this little girl shine in brand new ways is one of the great joys of being her mama :)

A little back story on the ballet class: Clover has a tendency to stick to her mama like glue. For example, even though she goes on to be fine and have wonderfully independent days shortly after I leave, every morning that I drop her off at pre-school involves a whole song and dance with me often having to literally pry her from whatever body part of mine she has attached herself to in hopes of me not leaving.

Usually all it takes is an "uppie" from one of her wonderful teachers as they skillfully direct her focus elsewhere allowing me to quietly slip away. Though every once in awhile there are tears involved.

She had been wanting to take ballet for awhile and I had hesitated, knowing that it was going to be a drop your kid off at the door kind of thing. I was pretty nervous about how it would all go down. We had discussed it and she had assured me that she could do it. I was still nervous.

It was such a relief when we showed up that first day and she just darted off, never looking back, lining up outside the door with a group of little girls she'd never met, to follow a brand new teacher into class. Watching her sheer excitement over the class propel her little body forward, effortlessly away from me, made me feel just as proud as watching her do those sweet little dance moves for the first time in front of all the parents.

Little did we know that following the performance, there would be even more excitement awaiting us at home...

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A lovely surprise package from Nicole!

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Which included a special little bundle of goodness for Clover and some wearable treasures for Mama, as well as an awesome little book from the 70's that will be perfect for helping me with my goal of creating a more homespun Christmas next year. Thank you for being so thoughtful Nicole!

A couple of days later, we took Clover to see a local production of The Nutcracker put on by our friend Lily's mom's ballet studio in Sebastopol. The sets and costumes were so beautiful and fantastical and the music and dancing inspired even more of this around the house than we were already seeing:


I took these videos on Christmas morning as Clover danced around our living room in her new ballet gear. She looks so sweet and innocent in that first one, doesn't she?

Do not be fooled...


It starts off innocent enough, until her mischievous side takes hold. Our poor kitty, he is not a willing dance partner. If you listen closely, you can hear his little cries. I had to rescue him. It's amazing what the little guy puts up with from her, no biting, no scratching.

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Yesterday we watched this 80's film version of The Nutcracker (costumes and sets by Maurice Sendak!) and when it was over, she immediately wanted to dress up as one of the dancers in the waltz of the flowers, her favorite part. So we pulled out the insane tutu that my friend Abby got her for her birthday.

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As you can see, she was completely in the zone.

We just got her a pair of wee tap shoes too. Next week she starts a new class. This time it's ballet/tap. She's excited. Should be fun :)

15 comments:

Lisa E said...

She is so so so beautiful. This entire photo blog made my morning.

fatmoss said...

the video of her dancing with the cat is so sweet even thou im sure the cat isn't too happy

bonfire of my vanity said...

omg i love her!!!!! she is beautiful. great photos, too. i took ballet at her age but got kicked out for hanging on the barre. my mom put me in gymnastics after that. hee hee. my mother in law is an amazing amazing amazing dance teacher in sebastapol, she teaches creative movement and she is seriously magical. i've watched her in action and the kids treat her like the pied piper. if you ever want to check out other varieties of dance besides ballet, let me know, i can give you her number/. i'm kinda anti- little girls taking ballet, it's one of my woo woo things, just because ballet asks the body to do some really unnatural things and i worry about little girls bodies as well as the really scary, unhealthy food thing that goes hand in hand with ballet, unfortunately, but it really depends on the teacher and how hard core they are. i was ruined by my dance days in college when i met all these ballerinas who seriously played hunger games with eachother to see who could starve themselves the most. freaky. watch clover's teachers carefully. you can tell who the nutcases are. I WANT A TUTU GODDMAMMIT WHERE IS MY TUTU.

Alexa said...

Ballet was my true love growing up. I wouldn't take off my tutu, and I danced until I was 18, and was even lucky enough to be part of a Canadian ballet company performing the Nutcracker. Mostly, it was magic, and I can't wait until Lena can do her first class! Although I'm with B. a bit, there are some unhealthy body image issues that can come if you do it forever like I did...I identified with Black Swan just a little too much...that said, I think at Clover's age it is a wonderful thing to do, and I think there are more and more dance teachers with an awareness of the pitfalls.

Teeny said...

I just read some of the comments above...which is also timely for me because I also have a little blossom that wants to be a ballerina. although perhaps judging from her current grace level she might be more suited to something like....um....crumping. And that is what blew me away with that video of Clover - she is so graceful! Not all ballerinas end up food obsessed and anorexic. My good friend's little sister is dancing in New York right now...she is very muscular and was told her legs were too big; she told them to stuff it and walked out of that interview and found another company. The story goes something like that anyways. I think B has some good advice...watch the teacher. ALSO, I wanted to say thanks for the comment on my blog and once i know more about our itinery for the NoCal part of our trip i shall be knocking on your door! squeeeee!

flaming hag folkwear said...

ugh, i owe you an email. i meant to email as i mailed the package...and then in response to your email when you received the package....and then...i don't even know...i am glad it brought any little smiles to your faces, tho :)

gorgeous lil ballerina! i first took ballet lessons when i was even younger than miss clover, and starting again (for sh*ts, giggles, and a little exercise) is on my to-do list for this year. i don't think that i could muster up half the elegance she has in a tutu, tho :)

p.s. you still thinking about the symposium in the spring? crossing fingers....

Eyeliah said...

lovely photos! when I was taken to gymnastics I had a bit of a rough time and my mom never took me back, makes me so sad :(

Cate said...

I just adore your blog. I work at a preschool and it is so cute when a kid comes in after taking their first ballet class (or any lesson really) and wants to show off what they learned. I thought these pictures were great. And the kitty video? Well, my cats better be prepared for when my husband and I decide to have a little one.

sally said...

clover is beyond precious!

and what did you end up naming kitty? i would love to know!

anne said...

very cute!

my sister was a dancer (mostly modern and jazz) but she taught clover's age and said how cute it was. little girls twirling around and doing their own thing.

hahaha shane holds our cat the same way. i'm shocked she doesn't claw him to death.

Celynne said...

It's so great that she enjoys it so much! And she's SO cute. Those last photos with that giant tutu...! You are blessed with Patient-Cat.

Milla said...

You know, as lovely and amazing as your little Cloverkin is and she truly is, she is just blooming, she is also just about the luckiest little person to have you as a mom. It so wonderful to see her through your eyes in these photos and to feel the love and pride and even the frustration at tantrums. Your mothering gives me hope of having such a wonderful experience of it some day, because even though you're honest about the challenges, your photos and stories of Clover also glow with such merriment and joy. I miss you both a lot.

Violet Folklore said...

Oh man, IN THE ZONE indeed! And that 3rd photo is soooo freaking adorable!

The Nutcracker CD is on constant rotation at our house. Mycie and Ella put on their ballet costumes at least once a day. And kitty torture is also a part of our lives around here! Henry and Fiona never scratch or bite either, little sweeties.

Are you going to continue with classes for Clover?

Tera said...

I was only two and a half when I attended my first ballet class. I later went on to ballet, tap, jazz and gymnastics. I didn't stop until I was 19 and took a class in college before dropping it. It helped me develop a good relationship with my body. I was a tubby ballerina at 13-14 and noticed that and asked my mom if we could please switch to skim milk from whole and she did. I was getting quite bottom heavy and it it was throwing me off. I just felt it was the whole milk, no dieting involved just a casual article here and there that Seventeen Magazine would put out on how to eat. But no one in my dance class said anything to me, it was something I noticed and solved on my own. So much goes into body image. There re plenty of girls not in ballet who acquire body image issues. I learned to listen to my body because of ballet and as a result still eat intuitively. I started using the phrase, "My body told me to..." at eight or nine and continue to function that way. Any image issues I had stemmed from magazine covers, old movie star photos but never ballet. Ballet provided me with athletic challenges and relaxation at the same time.

Nicky said...

eeheheheheh... dancing with kitty. I have very similar videos of my girls dancing around in tutus. :D