daughter no.1 never wanted to learn ballet. She was a tomboy through and through at age 5 (not that you would know now, she's by far and away the most feminine young woman you'd want to meet, albeit slightly glowing every now and again due to overly liberal use of fake tan).However, daughter no.2 is a "girly girl". Loves everything pink, flowery, fairy inspired, fluffy bunnies, wearing her hair in pigtails, pretty dresses. When she asked Mr H and I last November if she could learn ballet, I actually clapped my hands in that annoying way they do in films (minus the excited squealing though thankfully) because I was so happy. After years of standing out every Sunday morning during the rugby season in the cold, rain, wind, snow, freezing cold (delete as applicable) watch son no.1 training and playing, my time to sit at the back of a dance studio surrounded by ballet slippers and little girls in tutus had come along at last.
So off to ballet we went. It wasn't quite the start I'd wished for as we almost got lost and couldn't find the dance school but by sheer luck and some slightly dubious navigating, we managed to arrive with five minutes to spare before the beginning of the lesson. The first lesson she sat and watched for the first half, then joined in as best she could in the second half. The next lesson though was a triumph, she quickly mastered the most basic of little galloping steps, a very sweet little fairy dance and some (although I do say so myself) intricate little tap steps. And was promptly moved up a group after just 1 week. By this point I'm bursting with pride and having visions of attending her debut performance with the Royal Ballet......
At the end of the penultimate lesson before the Christmas break, she was moved up to the next group. Cue excited hand clapping from us both upon telling Mr H when we got home.
Last Saturday was her first lesson back after the Christmas break. And in my eyes she was extraordinary, I would have expected her to forget at least half of what she'd already learnt, but she hadn't. In fact she did the best I'd seen from her so far. And at the end of the lesson, the teacher came over to tell me that she was moving daughter no.2 up to the first Exam Group as she was progressing so well and so quickly, and that her discipline (sometimes severely lacking at home due to a lot of daydreaming and arguing with older siblings) was excellent. We watched the first ten minutes of the next class - the one she will be attending from this weekend on - and when we got home she was keen to practise First and Second Positions.
To say I'm proud of my little girl is an understatement. She has embraced dance with all her heart and it truly is lovely to watch.