Every day Maddie comes home from school and changes into her ballet clothes and Grand Jete's around the living room like a bird learning to fly. She then goes to sleep in her beautiful ballerina sheets and it wouldn't surprise me one bit if she is pirouetting in her dreams. I asked her what she likes most about ballet, and my FOUR year old answered with the following "dancing is when I feel like I am most me". And so we encourage her to dance to her hearts content.
Maddie was so excited when she learned that this years' ballet recital was going to be the Nutcracker, as she has LOVED this book for a few years already, and she was thrilled to be performing the Dance of the Snowflakes. We got incredibly lucky these past two years and Maddie has had the most wonderful (talented, experienced, patient and legit) ballet teacher. A teacher who has been not only been teaching her positions and routines, but also guiding Maddie through her love of ballet and nurturing a little piece of confidence in her that we have watched grow before our very eyes.
Last year she danced on stage in Swan Lake and sweetly fluttered about, with her little head tilted to the side, shy and nervous. This year, she was confident, did some dancing and had fun. And we sat in the auditorium, recording, photographing, (crying a few sneaky tears) and smiling with our entire bodies at our blossoming little snowflake. We were so very proud of her and just couldn't believe that our often shy and nervous little girl was on that huge stage, under those bright lights, and being so outrageously beautiful.
After the show, a little surprise was waiting for Madeleine. For those of you unaware of the story of the Nutcracker; the scene is set when the little girl Clara is given a Nutcracker from her GodFather, Dr Drosselmeyer. I wanted to do something special for Maddie after her performance and so had coordinated a little gift with my brother, Maddie's GodFather, to be waiting for her after the show. I photographed the moment she unwrapped her gift from her GodFather, and I hope I never forget how purely grateful and sweet she was in that moment. She couldn't believe that she had a real Nutcracker of her very own, and that her own GodFather had sent it specially for her after her performance in the Nutcracker. It was the perfect end to a beautiful day.
And because we can't quite just pack away her tutu that quickly, it is now hanging proudly as a piece of art in her room, reminding her every day of the confidence that she has and hopefully, can carry with her beyond the stage.