emergingfree

Christian and Socially-Conscious…One Woman's Expression

Ballerina Girl?

There I was, around the age of four, standing in my tutu.  Yes, someone had a brilliant idea to enroll me in ballet class.  I was no Misty Copeland, but I could hold my own.

Who am I fooling?  The studio was small and the lighting was dim.  The other students were nice, but they were not my friends.  Something was “off”.  I felt uneasy.  I could only tell my mom, “I don’t want to go back.”

Standing in the class, comparing my stance to that of my instructor and to my peers I noticed something.  I am the only Black person here.  Prior to this, I had been in either all-Black or very integrated environments.  This was the first time I noticed that “I” integrated the room.

Looking back, I guess my parents grew tired of my pleas.  Eventually, I stopped attending.  Gone was the tutu.  Gone were the ballet shoes.  Gone were the leotards and stockings.  They were never to be seen again.

Did the fact that I was the only Black person in my class have something to do with my adverse reaction?  Possibly.  Maybe I simply did not like ballet?  Nah, I have always loved dance—the art of any kind of dance.  There is no guarantee that if more children in the class having brown skin would have resulted in a more enjoyable experience for me.  What is known, however, is that after all of these years I am left with a very vivid recollection of the experience—an experience which, at the very least, on paper seems like a positive one.

As an adult, I appreciate having been exposed to both ballet and the circumstance of being in the minority of a majority group.  What I did not know then was that this occurrence would become routine throughout my life.  You would think that because of this, “race” would be a common topic of discussion between my parents and I as a child.  It may have been, but its presentation was not commonly overt.  (I will probably talk more about that later.)

You know, I truly treasure how the topic of “race” has been handled by my parents and grandparents.  I have gained real value by hearing firsthand stories from them.  This invaluable knowledge, combined with textbook information and personal experiences, have formulated within me very unique analysis and viewpoints—or shall I say positions which are not always given the same attention by mainstream media.  Luckily, I respect discussion.  Being in the minority of majority groups, you learn its value…and you learn how to confidently stand alone if necessary.

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2 thoughts on “Ballerina Girl?

  1. Nicole on said:

    I have been in this situation before as a little girl. My oldest daughter as well. Unlike me, thankfully, she continued ballet until she was done with it. She made a lot of friends too.

    • That is awesome that your oldest daughter made a lot of friends. 🙂 I appreciate that my parents exposed me to this form of dance as a child. I did not understand then, but now I know the value of the experience. Thank you for reading and sharing!

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