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I Cried Hysterically in the Middle of Children's Dance Recital.


adult ballerina dancing at the barre

By Veronica Viccora

6.15.23
 

Do you have those particular memories that keep you up at night? You know the ones. The deep cuts from your life that no one else likely even remembers but they still make your whole body react? Something embarrassing you did that you wish desperately you could take back or do over?


I certainly do.


One time I went to see a dance recital for this sweet girl I used to babysit, when I got trapped in one of the worst human experiences possible...


The awkward hug.


Her parents came to greet me and I wasn't sure if we were going to shake hands or hug or pretend to be European and do the cheek kiss. It was a TOTAL mess. And to this day, I still wake up to frequent cringe attacks at 4 in the morning remembering how stupid I felt more often than I care to admit.


But there's something from that day that's even harder for me to forgive myself for. You see, the stage where this recital was taking place, was the very same stage I'd been given a "Teeny Award" for my performance in my High School's musical 5 years prior. Back then, the future looked so bright. I'd finally overcome my debilitating stage fright, and the dreams I never thought possible for myself were actually starting to come true. I couldn't wait to see what was next!


But then all at once, I gave up.


Out of discouragement.


Out of disappointment.


Out of fear.


And so I sat there, uncontrollably crying in the middle of a children's dance recital (lol). Because as I watched this little girl shining so brightly with talent and hope and joy, I remembered that I once knew that same hope, that same joy. On that same exact stage.


So how did I get so wildly lost?


In that moment, I fully believed I would NEVER be a dancer. To this day, this is the hardest thing I'm learning to forgive myself for. For giving up. For stopping when I was just getting started. And there are times when it feels almost impossible to not utterly hate myself for not taking more risks, for wasting so much of my precious time.


But then I remember I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be. Because I wouldn't give up my current dance journey for anything. Starting so late has allowed me to connect with other late bloomers. My story resonates with the underdogs, the misfits, the ones who were told they'd never be good enough so why not just give up now?


And now, we get to encourage and inspire each other to see the art of dancing in an entirely new light. That feels so much sweeter and more rewarding than perhaps it might've felt if my story had been different. So maybe we aren't meant for the lives we always imagined we would be. No matter what, I will never get back the years I spent on insecurity, inadequacy and avoiding my ultimate passion.


And sometimes, that's a very hard pill to swallow.


But sometimes, if we can find the courage to forgive ourselves and keep moving forward, we discover that we're meant for lives much greater than we could've imagined.

 

If you've ever struggled with forgiving yourself for giving up, starting late or anything else in dance, watch this video. In it, I share an honest look at what it's like to realize the true cost of giving up. It's the perfect motivation for dancers starting late or anyone who needs a little encouragement to keep going.

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