March 27, 2011

First Dance

Dancing Down Memory Lane, part three..

It was one summer, eons ago.. I might have been seven or nine years old and we were in Finland for the duration of my school holiday. I was staying with my grandparents in a lovely wooden house situated next to a small forest.  It was the kind of carefree summer that makes me go all nostalgic; the long days, the sun and trips to the beach, the freedom, the pancakes my gran made, almost quicker than we could eat them. My second cousin, Tiina, lived just a holler away and we spent most of time running about outdoors, playing and pretend-playing. Then one day we decided to put up a dance performance..

I had seen lots of Hollywood musicals, which I loved, but neither of us had had any previous experience with dance lessons. Nor did we have dancing siblings or ever seen a ballet performed. What we did have, was a huge lawn as the stage, the sun as our stage light, a thankful audience of parents and grandparents and our unbridled joy to move with the music! It must have been an interesting "choreography", a mix of musical influence a la "Singing in the Rain" with some Isadora Duncanesque movement thrown in.. But, there was no inhibition, no technique nor style to adhere to, no judgement. We were as innocent and naive as you could be. 

I remember that feeling still, the thrill of letting the huge string sections take over, my feet jumping off the ground and being airborne. 

Cyd Charisse, one of my early idols.
Our dance received the appropriate applause and accolades, as you would expect from gran and moms. Sadly, it did not result in ballet classes, though neither Tiina or me had a clue that such things even existed! Actually I´m not sure whether I would have loved dance classes as much as I do now. I was too much of a tomboy, more excited by climbing trees, jumping fences and doing general mischief. Ballet would have to wait..

Want to read more? Dancing Down Memory Lane, part 1


  1. Love it!

    Also an adult starter - at 40!
    Now 44 - went on pointe only end of last year.
    Worth all the effort and can not agree more with your introduction:

    Adult recreational ballet dancer in relentless and delirious pursuit of pointe and triple pirouettes - that is sooooo me !:)

  2. Thank you Susan!

    So cool :) It´s amazing what we can achieve when we are really passionate about something! I agree with you 100% - ballet is soo worth it.

    By the way, how many classes do you take? Does your studio offer pointe class, or are exercises incorporated into regular class?

    Yay for showing the younger crowd that grown-up women can still rock. And pointe. :D

  3. I miss that house so much! And grannie and the pancakes. Thanks for this entry!

    -the other cousin

  4. Riikka, you just made me all teary-eyed! I miss those days too, and mummi sometimes still so much that it hurts.. We had such good times in that house! Loving the memories..

    We should do a pancake-party with the girls sometime soon :)

  5. I danced from when I was three until I was 12, then started again recently (I'm 20) and my goal is to be en pointe in the next five years. I would rather be over prepared than under! I take three classes a week, but I practice every day!! You are an inspiration to me!!!

  6. Charlotte, thank you so much! It means a lot to me that I inspired you a little :)

    I gotta say, the way you are dancing, with your background, work ethic, determination and sensible approach - you are bound to do well! If you can keep it up, I would approach a reputable teacher about pointe within three years.

    My own teacher does not accept newbies with less than 3 years of experience (regular class 2-3 times a week), and even then only after she has approved both technical and physical readiness. She takes pointe very seriously - and is ready to invest 100% in her students!

    I think you must be every teacher´s dream student: loves to dance, is hard-working and eager to learn. All the best to you! :)


To That Special Ballet Teacher

To that special ballet teacher, who not only teaches you about technique, but helps build your confidence, nurtures your inner artist, ...