For the past nine months, Ali, Noah and I have been making weekly treks to Ali’s ballet class. It took us a while to find our place in this world, and Ali has gone back and forth, wavering between whether ballet is the most fun she has all week or something to be avoided at all costs. But we accomplished the year.

And our reward for our dedication was recital and all of it’s containing pomp. And circumstance.


We had dress rehearsal on Friday night, and the four-page recital instructions commanded that everything be done just as if it were the performance.

Which was good, since it took me three applications of (the very specific) makeup for Ali to get used to the idea.

(Mascara ungraciously intruded on her idea of personal space.)


(And I still stink at making a proper ballet bun.)


(But wow – hair nets make all the difference. The fact that I didn’t discover hair nets until the very last day that I would ever need them is more farcical than realizing that all I had to do to get my two-year-old to quit pooping in the bath was to tell him not to.)

Since dressing up like a princess is basically her profession, Ali adored her outfit, enjoying the poofy tulle,


And spinning power.


She basically floated on air the entire weekend.


Friday night dress rehearsal was our only chance to take photos and video, so I did an extraordinarily thorough job.

All of the classes, each representing a different country, lined up and sang. Because what is a ballerina if not a singing ballerina?

Since it was her recital (or, in the case of the photos, dress rehearsal,) I thought it only fair to let Ali do the blogging. So I interviewed her about the experience and typed verbatim what she told me. Her answers are in bold.

It was fun to sing and my favorite was Oh How I Love Jesus. It was hard to do the hand motions without hitting other girls so I just had to do it behind their back because I wasn’t up enough and I didn’t realize it so I was behind a little bit and didn’t realize it.


(Ali is the third Yellow tutu from the right – the one looking around analytically rather than doing the appropriate girl-smacking hand motions.)

Well it was very fun watching the other girls, but in the dress rehearsal, I…um…didn’t know that that there was another girl before us after the blue girls that danced but I think they were five, and, um, that’s all I can say about the other stuff about my recital.

Each country did it’s own performance, causing much outfit envy and outfit relief in the Mommy Section, and, as I found out later, from the ballerina section.

Oh – that’s Ireland. I liked their outfits and, you know, they went first, right?


Brazil was pretty too and they had rainbow skirts. And I liked watching them and they were, Uh…which flag were they?


Uh, Spain. Spain was pretty, but it really wasn’t…the prettiest.


(Upon later reflection, I think that was actually Italy, not Spain. But I don’t blame her for her not-so-unfounded conclusions.)

Um, well, we were Germany. I liked watching the other girls better, and my favorite – I liked watching the…the um…the Russia…because they were pretty and then blue and they had their skirts up. And I liked wearing my outfit a lot..and…after it I really felt like I wish I wanted to be…to be in the Russia class and I wanted to wear a Russia outfit.


Part of her class’ performance included a little acting, where Ali came up to her partner and asked her to dance. So I asked Ali,

Did you like asking her to dance with you?

Well…it wasn’t really my favorite.


After you asked her to dance and you danced together, was that fun?

Um, yes. But it wasn’t my favorite. I liked watching…nevermind.


Did you like it when you lined up on the stage on your knees?

Well, it was kind of hard.


How about when you got to go behind the other girls and have a little bit of a solo dance?

Yeah, I liked doing that and I liked spinning while the girls were around me. It was…um…kinda…my favorite part. (nervous laughter)


Did it make you feel special?


Did it make you feel like a Princess?

No. Noah’s making me nervous.


What about when you asked your partner to dance again and she told you no? Did you like that part?

Not Really. But all the girls did that, because that was what our teacher told us to do.


Japan was also one of my favorites. Umm…well, they were very pretty, but why didn’t they wear pink I mean orange instead of blue, and blue on their sleeves instead of pink?

I don’t know.

Well, it…it wasn’t really normal at all, but they were very pretty.


I pulled up the photo of England…


(Six-Year-Old Spittake)

Well, I ummm….did…did…did…I, well their outfits weren’t as pretty, but…but they did do…I liked watching them.

Next was USA. Did you like their dance?

Aren’t they American? Well, they were pretty, but, um…why did the boy…why did he do different stuff than the girls?

Because he’s a boy.



Did you like Arabia?

Alright. They…one girl in my class said something about them and she said that she was jealous that they were wearing pants and not a skirt but I liked them a lot. What’s that thing that was on their head?


I can’t remember what country they were. Well, they were very pretty and I think I looked at the TV on every country, but…maybe not.


(I believe that they were actually the previously mislabeled Spain, for the record.)

What about Scotland?

Um, we did do a pose like that, but we decided to do the sitting on the knee thing instead. Their outfits were…kind of…the least that I liked. And that’s all I can say about them. Incept what I just said right now.


RUSSIA WAS VERY PRETTY And they have the same first position and let’s see…they were very pretty and I liked watching them too and they looked like kind of a little bit older than me. Well, she does.


Now Iceland. They were very pretty and I don’t remember really watching them and I don’t remember what they danced. I don’t remember what any of the girls danced. So they were very pretty too…and they have pretty, you know, sleeves and…are those sleeves or what are they called? Hand pieces?


So. How did it feel for me to put makeup on you?

uuuummmm….heh (girlish giggle creating a dimple situation) I liked it.


And what did you think about the day of your performance, when everyone came and watched?

I don’t really have anything to say about it. But I liked getting my flowers.




And next year, I want to take Art Class instead.

32 thoughts on “The Rise and Fall of a Ballerina’s Career.

  1. Love it!! Maddie used to take ballet…when we switched to horse riding (now, that’s a switch, for sure), she took a turn around the corral on her horse and looked at me and said, “THIS IS SO MUCH BETTER THAN BALLET!” And, I have to agree!

  2. She looks great! My oldest did ballet also and I hated all the recital pomp :) She tried karate, fell in love with it and never went back to ballet (much to my delight!)

    1. I cannot IMAGINE Ali doing Karate…what with her complete panic over getting an invisible scratch and personal space needs. But you never know!

  3. Ali looks so grown up with the make up on!!! Stop it!

    (But really, I think my first recital was somehting similar and I was Switzerland, but maybe Germany. I vaguely remember a similar costume!)

    Tell Ali I agree that Russia’s costumes are the prettiest!! They look like “real grown up” ballerinas!

    So cute…don’t stop dancing Ali!! You have lovely form for as young as you are! :)

    But let’s talk about the UK costumes…I think they are confused and should have been French! That costume is every teenage girls father’s nightmare! Haha!

  4. Ha, all those classes to watch! I went once to watch my sister-in-law be a penguin and it took FOREVER then the teacher came out and a gave a rose to EACH student. There were probably around 200 of them. And she did a speech thanking everyone up to and including her grandparents for having her parents to have her.

  5. Oh my WOW! Ali looks gorgeous!

    Um, and those UK outfits? Plunging neckline? French maid theme? For 6-year-olds???? Ick, ick. Must shower now.

    P.S. That is a LOT of small ballerinas!

    P..P..S. I’m thinking that Della’s going to have to do at least one round of ballet because she LOOOOOOVES to dance and is so petite and graceful (looking, at least). But I wouldn’t be at all sad if she just kicked a soccer ball instead.

    1. The French English Maids were a bit unfortunate. I felt sorry for those parents. And yes – those were only the four and five year old ballerinas!! Crazy, huh?

  6. Well, Kee and I just looked at all the pictures, and Kee would like me to tell you this: “Ali looks very very pretty. I like the Jasmine girls, but I would like the orange dress the very best. Can I go to ballet with Ali?” We’re going to start working on geography soon. ;) Good for you for getting through a whole year – I don’t think I’d have it in me.

  7. I put my youngest in dance when she was 4 or 5 because she would always ask me or her dad to “be my prince” while the closing music to any one of her dozen Barbie movies played. She lasted for 3 years but my oldest is still in dance taking ballet and jazz and thanks to the show Shake it Up I think she may stay in for a long while. Recitals can be a pain but I am getting to be a pro at that ballet bun now!

  8. I was totally obsessed with ballet for about three years, and I was just sure that I would grow up to be a ballerina. After I finished my dinky Parks & Rec recital at the end of a school year of classes, my Granny told me, kindly, that maybe I should think about a different career.. Short, chubby, and clumsy are not qualities they look for in ballerinas, it turns out. I can still do all the positions, though!

  9. She. looks. so. beautiful. And kudos to you for doing all the… ehm… behind-the-scenes work. We’re expecting an addition to our two-boy family in November, and everyone has been assuming that I am pining for a little girl. But I’m not sure yet. On the one hand, soccer and T-ball are so much easier… on the other hand… oh, they’re just so darn precious!

    1. You’re right, both are fun. But I have to say, I like experiencing both. I’ll join the “I hope it’s a girl!!” camp!!

  10. Well , I personally think the dance world is a better place now that lovely Ali has been involved. And with the art classes she will be on her way to being a true Renaissance woman.

  11. Try using Goody Spin Pins for her bun. They’re awesome, and you can choose whether you want them for light hair or dark. You pull her hair into a regular ponytail, any height on her head. Wrap the hair around to make the bun, and twist these little babies into the bun clockwise. It stays nice & tight. Just twist them counterclockwise when bun-time is over! They’re at Walgreens, etc. but I just saw them at the DOLLAR TREE for a buck… which is about $5 less than the drugstores!

    1. Thanks for the tip! I saw those but didn’t try it, because things like that never work in my hair. But I think perhaps hers is of a better consistency for something like that to work…

  12. Wow! Your dance is just a bit more professional-ish than ours! I love all the costumes and flags! What a neat thing! Our theme is summer this year so the girls just get to wear a swimming suit and grass skirt. Not as exciting but it saves money on something they would only wear once. Ali looks SO grown up w/makeup. Beautiful!!!

    1. Ours is through a church that is SERIOUS BUSINESS about ballet. They’re the pros and have been ruling the ballet industry in Birmingham for years. They’re good at it, for sure!

  13. The costumes are (almost all) beautiful! ;-)

    Fellow blogger question: Do you give any thought to posting pictures of those other kids without other parents’ permission? I find myself in that quandary often, such as when I take pictures in my kids’ classrooms or at Cub Scout events, etc. Just wondering what your opinion is on that.

    1. My personal rule is: if I’m mentioning a kid specifically, I ask their parents. If I’m just showing a giant group of kids, I don’t worry too much about it. Perhaps this is naive, but what could go wrong? And anytime someone has found their kid in one of my pictures, they’re excited about it, not offended.

      This obviously could change in a tenth of a second if someone got upset.

  14. I’ve fallen woefully behind on blog reading lately, but I’ve just enjoyed a marathon session of reading back posts of your blog. As always, time welll spent, because you are such a delight, and always make me laugh. This little post about ballet was my favorite though! Ally is adorable and I loved reading her comments. My daughter started ballet when she was three, and the first few years were all about the costumes, and whose was the prettiest. I hope Ally has fun with art!

    1. Thank you so much!! She is still waffling between art, ballet, and gymnastics, but I’m pretty sure she’s going to land on art.

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