I took my first ballet class at age 6 because my friends were taking class. I came home and told my mother I was going to be a ballerina. From that day I practiced a barre every single day by looking at pictures in a beginner ballet book and mimicking what they were doing. I advanced very quickly and at age 10, I was the youngest dancer at my studio to be approved to go on pointe.
At 14 I went to Jacob's Pillow and at 15 I studied with Melissa Hayden and the NYCB in Saratoga Springs. At 18 I moved to NYC and started dancing with the Harkness Ballet. Shortly after arriving in NYC I tripped over a crack in the sidewalk and injured my right foot. After several weeks, I could no longer put any weight on that foot so I went to a doctor in East Harlem who was doing a study on dancers feet and their problems. The doctor called me an idiot and told me that if I did not stay off of that foot for 3 months, there was a chance that I would never walk again. I had wishboned my 5th metatarsal to a quarter inch from the ankle. I knew that I would not dance again. My soul died that day.
30 years later I decided to take an adult ballet class and was amazed at what I could do. Not well but do it none the less. My second class turned out to be a private class and the teacher told me to just follow her. She ran me through a battery of exercises and combinations and an hour later asked me what gives. She wanted to know what my background was since I had not said anything except that I had danced when I was younger. Her greatest compliment to me was that she could see that I had quality training. That was a year ago.
I find that I enjoy dancing so much more now than I did when I was younger because this time I am doing it for me. I no longer have to prove anything to anyone and if I can't do an exercise as well as the 20 year old in my class, so be it. I don't have to be the best. I just have to enjoy what I am doing with my life and believe me, I have never been happier.