Friday, March 21, 2008

Getting promoted (in ballet class)

W. got his report card from his two ballet teachers yesterday. It was quite gushy and said that he had "turned a corner" and took ballet very seriously and had excellent posture and great form, although he had to work on his battement tendu.  We all laughed about that because we don't know anything about ballet so W.  had to explain what it was.  We all joked that we had noticed his battement tendus were a little weak. 
I was very touched by these ballet report cards and I guess it's because I'm very proud of him.  It's probably the feeling other people get when their children come home with glowing report cards from school.  My boys school report cards are pretty good but they're not glowing, so I was relishing this rare parental moment.  I also think the fact that we have nothing whatsoever to do with his ballet makes it all the more sweet.  We take him to lessons and cheer him on, that's all. 
I know his reviews get an extra tweak because he's a boy but I don't care. I figure that just gives  him an upward curve but they wouldn't be so glowing if he was mediocre. 
But W.'s glowing report card means that he will be promoted to the next level - level 4 and that's kind of scary because now he will have to go three times a week and that's a huge commitment for both of us. W. was worried about whether he could still do baseball and S. and I thought about both basketball and baseball. It's those pesky Saturday classes. So S. is going to talk to the ballet school and see if there's some flexibility there in baseball and basketball season which is basically the whole winter and spring. 
We looked at this year's baseball schedule and realized that he would miss seven classes or seven games. I hate for him to have to choose between baseball and ballet at age 9 and I'm afraid he might choose baseball just because it's more fun and his dad loves it. I don't know why I care so much about him sticking with ballet. I guess it's because I know that he loves ballet and that he is more serious about it than anything else in his life. He has  a passion for dancing that is unlike anything else I've seen for either of my kids. When he comes out of his ballet class and we go next door to the food court to order some pizza, he dances while he is waiting to be served. When we watch a movie, he does an interpretive dance of the movie.  If he goes to New York and sees break dancers, he tries out their moves.  If he looks in on a class of the "big girls" he tries to figure out how they do certain moves. It truly is in his bones.
This is totally unlike me.  When I took ballet at age 6, I was all over the class and could never get the steps right.  A classic case of the ADHD kid dancing to her own tune. Then when I took ballet in high school, I loved it but I wouldn't say I had much talent. I have always been a self-conscious dancer. I do not live in my body the way W. does. Does that mean I'm living vicariously through him? Maybe. There's a thrill to having a kid who has a special talent for something, especially something that is so foreign.  I would probably feel the same way if he was a math genius. 
After grumbling that I didn't want W. to be promoted, I started feeling that I really did want this for him because it's an accomplishment and I don't want to hold him back. One of his teachers wrote that his talent should be "nurtured," and I felt like it was a rebuke.  Nurtured? We nurture him.  We take him to lessons and tell him what a great job he's doing.  We don't know what a battement tendu is and in fact, I'm not sure I know how to spell battement tendu but that's OK.   I'm guessing this was a reference to W. not participating in the ballet school's performance this spring and I sometimes regret that decision although I'm pretty sure I staved off a nervous breakdown that would have ensued if I tried to have W. do baseball and a ballet performance. I want to say I'm nurturing him as best I can. I'm not a ballerina, I'm not even a former ballerina, I'm just a mom trying to encourage my son as he enters a foreign land.

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