Hillary (center) and friends in dance class.

Hillary (center) and friends in dance class.

As a little girl, I dreamed of being a ballerina. I loved the fluffy pink tutus, sparkles, and the idea of gracefully leaping through the air. Even my favorite books were about ballet: Best Friends Wear Pink Tutus and All Tutus Should be Pink. Lucky for me, I got an early start on my dance career when my mom signed me up for dance class at the age of two and a half.

If you have ever met a two and a half year old you may have noticed that the attention span at that age is very short. Looking back, I wonder how my dance teachers managed to teach all of us little girls anything at all. By the time the dance recital came around, I had turned three, but the home movie of the occasion shows that I probably was not cut out to be a ballerina quite yet. While all of my friends did their plies and changements on stage, I proceeded to tickle my neighbor with a fluffy pink feather that came from the costume of a dancer who was mature enough to handle feathers. So maybe I was a little young for ballet that first year.

Despite the comedy show that was my first recital, I kept on dancing. I even graduated to costumes with feathers at some point! After a couple of years of ballet, I moved to another dance studio where some of my friends from school took classes. Together we learned ballet, tap, and jazz every Saturday morning with our teachers like Miss Deb, Miss Kim, and Miss Fran. After dance, my mom always took my brother and I to Subway for lunch (it’s funny how you always remember these silly little details.) I was never very graceful or skilled in dance, but it was something that I enjoyed for most of my girlhood years. When I started having other hobbies and interests such as girl scouts and horseback riding, I stopped dancing. I am so glad that my parents let me choose my own hobbies as a child, though I sometimes wonder how a two and a half year old could convince them that a toddler makes a good ballerina. Although I stopped dancing years ago, I still have my tiny ballet slippers and cute little costumes, and of course treasured memories. Now that my attention span is longer than 6 seconds, I sometimes consider going back to dance class because the idea of being a graceful ballerina still lives in some corner of my mind.

-Hillary Hanel
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

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