However ballet fascinated me despite my lack of talent.
I went through several years of exams and performed to a lot of the staple ballet music pieces such as Greensleeves and Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. I wore tutus (those things are scratchy as anything), learned to apply my own stage makeup, and practiced – though never mastered – pirouettes.
There was one thing that I never did: wear pointe shoes.
Sadly my proneness to injury got the better of me in my teens. I had terribly weak ankles caused by injuries (one of which involved me falling in front of a huge audience and having to be carried off stage – not fun) and flat feet. My podiatrist warned me that training in pointe shoes could very well mean a broken ankle and further damage to my feet.
I cried and cried and cried when I gave up ballet. Though I knew I had no real dance career ahead of me, seeing all my peers move forward while I was forced to give up was very upsetting (type-A sixteen year old girls do NOT handle this stuff well!)
However, my years of ballet study did come in handy when I started writing. In 2012 when I sat down to start my very first book (which later became Only The Brave Try Ballet.) I drew on all that fascination, experience and knowledge to write my professional ballerina heroine, Jasmine. I drew on the angst I experienced all those years ago when I was unable to continue dancing as well as my experience of some terrible injuries (one which put my out of actions for several months) to make Jasmine’s conflict and character more believable.
Both of my current books for Harlequin KISS feature former professional ballerinas as heroines because it’s something I love writing about.
Question: are you a ballet or dance fan? If not, what was your favourite hobby growing up?
I took baller when I was a child, but did not love it so I quit after a year. My passion was reading and writing as a child. Also acting in plays.ReplyDelete
I did a little acting myself but I always found it way more scary to get on a stage and speak rather than dance. I loved to read and write too :)Delete
Hi Stephanie. I'm a huge ballet fan, and try to see any visiting companies. I did ballet for one year as a child and my Dad called me the leaping heffer. He was right, I had no grace at all. I then took up the piano and thumped my way through four years and Dad had to listen to all the practice. :)ReplyDelete
Hi Sue :) I think my parents were lucky that neither my sister nor I were very musical children...although I think my tap dancing practice probably made as much noise as if I'd been playing the drums!Delete
I so wanted to be a dancer when I was younger, Stef, but there weren't any handy classes nearby to where I lived. That may have been a blessing in hindsight. Physical grace isn't one of the things I'm known for. Besides, dancing would probably have interfered with all of that wonderful reading I did as a child. ;-) That said, sending hugs on your injuries and that you never got the chance to dance in pointe shoes!ReplyDelete
Thanks Michelle. You are right though, it did take up a lot of time! Exams, classes, competitions - definitely less time for reading.Delete
Stefanie, I love that picture of you in your ballet finery! I did ballet for a couple of years when I was very young - sadly the gracefulness of it hasn't stayed with me! I nearly got to play a mushroom in Peter and the Wolf when I was five... alas I got bronchitis and got to stay in bed instead. Not much call for a mushroom with a chesty cough! LOLReplyDelete
haha thanks! I think my mum still has that costume buried somewhere at home. Oh that would have been a cute costume, what a shame you missed out :(Delete
Ooh, Stefanie, I'm adding your books to my TBB for sure! I grew up wanting ballet lessons but got years of piano instead :) I did start my first ballet class when I started college, and with a few breaks while the kids were little, I haven't stopped :) It's a strange feeling now that DD's just made it onto pointe ;) I definitely look forward to reading your ballet heroines!ReplyDelete
Thanks, Fedora! I hope you enjoy them :) How wonderful that you took it up and now your daughter is doing it too.Delete
Never been a dancer myself. We have a show that has been on TV here over the last three winters "The Secret Life of Dancers" which focusses on the Royal NZ Ballet. It definitely makes me admire the hardwork that they put in.ReplyDelete
Off the top of my head, my two favourite hobbies as a child are still hobbies today. Those are reading and cross-stich/embroidery.
As a side note, I finished Only the Brave Try Ballet last night and I don't think you'll be able to keep up with my desire to read your books.
Oh that sounds like a great show, I must see if I can watch it somewhere online. Thanks so much for the kind words about Only The Brave Try Ballet, that means a lot to me!! I do have a little more time to write these days so hopefully I'll be able to get a few more books out soon :)Delete
I have never been a dancer or wanted to do ballet as a teenager I was mad on ice skating and loved it for many years I even me my Hubby at the local ice rink :)
Hi Helen! I've always envied people who can ice skate, it looks so graceful and beautiful. There's something so romantic about it :)Delete
I love that you've been able to incorporate your love of ballet into your books. It really shines through :)
I did a couple of years of jazz ballet when I was six and seven and loved every moment of it (especially the sequins and glitter!). I don't think I was ever very good at it though lol
I moved on to playing tennis. I joined the local kids team which played on Saturdays and practiced one afternoon a week and also had private training. We won a number of medals but I inherited a degenerative knee condition and after a knee reconstruction at sixteen, I had to give it up altogether. I still enjoy watching it, though.
Hi Lauren! Oh jazz, the costumes from the 80's and 90's were amazing weren't they? I remember spending all night sequining costumes with my mum!Delete
Such a shame that you had to give up tennis, it's one of the sports I really enjoy watching too.
I love all forms of dance, Stefanie. My mother wouldn't let me do ballet as she couldn't sew the costumes (which you had to do back then). I've always felt like I've missed my calling.ReplyDelete
We seem to have developed a tradition here in Byron that we perform flash mobs at friend's birthday parties, so now I do get to dance occasionally. Last time was an ABBA medley. So much fun.
The sewing the costumes was a big thing, looking back now I think my mum spent hours and hours doing that for me.Delete
The flash mobs sound like so much fun!! I must admit to watching them on YouTube sometimes - I love how coordinated they are. ABBA is great to dance to, I bet that would have been a blast.
No, I was never a dancer, but I do love to watch a ballet. There's something very special about it. I think it's great that you've been able to incorporate your love of ballet into your books.ReplyDelete
If I wasn't reading as a child, I was playing tennis. Didn't need to be light on my feet for that!
Tennis is a great sport, my husband played for years and coached as well so I have a strong appreciation for it even though I never really played myself. You do have to be very quick on your feet!Delete
Hi Stef! I love dancing in any form. I did ballet, 'modern' and jazz from age 3 to 19. I now do zumba which is great fun and go to see dance performances as often as possible. I am so looking forward to reading your book- it's on my kindle ready to go!ReplyDelete
Zumba is a lot of fun, you can always pick the dancers in classes like that IMO! I hope you enjoy the story :DDelete
Stef, I love the fact you're able to put your first love into your first pubbed romances! They sound marvellous.ReplyDelete
I was a ballet learner too, though I was never very good. I did make it onto pointe which, I confess, I was inordinately pleased about. I think I was too much of a reader to be a good dancer though. Given the choice between a book and ballet practice, the book always won out!
Thanks Annie :) I was much the same, loved performing and going to class but didn't love exam prep and practicing at home.Delete