Last Friday I got together with the Ballet Buddies (aka Ballet Fight Club) to say goodbye to one of our own, who is moving to The Big Apple to go back to school. When you think about it, it is quite remarkable that our little group has bonded so deeply over something as, well....strange, as ballet class. Our group ranges in age from 24 to 37. We all have varying degrees of education, diverse backstories, and come from all over the U.S. Some are super-duper smart (here's looking at you, medical professionals), some are super-duper flexible, and some have a super-duper innate ballet ability that makes me green with envy.
Why am I telling you this? Because when it comes to the things you love, having a support structure of those who understand you and what you are doing is essential. If we were doing this as children, we'd have classmates who we grew up with and became friends. As adults, that bonding process is much more difficult. As we all sat around the table (after a few cocktails, natch) it seemed perfectly normal to talk about the height of our arabesques, the fluidity of balancés and strength of pirouettes.
We may be as different, diverse and motley as they come, but we have ballet in common. It is something I cannot effectively share with non-dance friends....the passion, the idiocy, the injuries, the frustration, the joy....I am thankful for my little group of Ballet Buddies, and I don't think I'd enjoy dance as much as I do without them.
My advice to you today is to talk to someone in your class. Even if it is just to comment on a particularly challenging combination, or to ask where they got their legwarmers - make a connection. Over time, the friendship will develop, and you'll be better for it. As humans we are naturally social beings, and while forging new friendships was easier when we were 7, it is infinitely more gratifying 20 or 30 years later.
To my departing Ballet Buddy: You will be missed, but we wish you the best of luck in NYC - and I can't wait to come crash on your couch. Like the Golden Girls theme song said, "Thank you for being a friend."