Do you have to have danced as a kid to be a fan of ballet?

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In another life, I’m pretty sure I was a ballerina. Despite being a very uncoordinated child (my parents were told, after a year of gymnastics when I was four, that perhaps I should explore other opportunities), I have always loved dance. I love to move my body to music, no matter how it looks. I have always adored the way music feels inside my body when I dance.

I studied for many years to be a professional opera singer, and my favourite part of many roles was infusing movements with character and grace. I loved to have command over my body in such a way that I could convey emotion through the subtlest gesture. To be so in the moment that an outstretched hand or glance over your shoulder feels devastating is a frickin’ rush, you guys!

I’m also pretty sure I was a ballerina in another life because I LOVE to train. My favourite part of being a singer wasn’t performing, but rehearsing. I love the rigour, the constant improvement, the self-determination and drive. I love the discipline, physical and mental.

All that being said, I have exactly zero years of real dance training. Sure I did a little musical theatre here and a little ballroom there over my years of singing, but nothing really legit. And I definitely have noooo ballet training whatsoever.

But. I am a ballet FANATIC. I’m a fangirl. I’m well on my way to being that old lady who comes to rehearsals and donates gobs of money and who all the ballet dancers call something like “Miss Kay.” It me, you guys. It. Me.

It all started when I was in a hotel room by myself one night as a young singer (I think I was about 22 at the time and on an audition run). I vividly recall flipping through the channels and landing on my beloved PBS. The ballet Giselle was on, and just beginning when I found it. I intended to only watch for a few minutes then get ready for bed, and instead I sat enraptured for the entire ballet.

Giselle is still my favourite ballet, and probably will be forever. I know it inside and out, and I positively adore everything about it.

So, no – I assure you, you didn’t need to have danced as a kid to be a ballet fan. Do I know all the technical names of all the positions and movements? Oh hell no. Can I do any of it myself? HA! I most certainly cannot.

But I do know how to be moved. I do know the magic of stories and admire the achievement of individuals who have sacrificed everything to train. I know how much I adore going to the theatre and having a glass of wine and losing myself in a fairy tale. And friends, that is all you need to be a fan of ballet.