Do you ever just have those moments in life where you pause for a minute and appreciate what’s right in front of you? Where you actually think to yourself, “I am just so damn lucky”. I know it sounds like the ending to some cheesy movie, but I have had two of these moments over the last few days, and it’s made me want to rain positivity over everyone.
The first moment came when I was watching Sophie, who is a student of mine, participate in a class at Pineapple Dance Studios. Now I am the first person to admit that I am a total ballet snob, and with good reason. For my formative years of dance education, I was fortunate enough to be taught by Prudence Bowen. She is to me what Dumbledore is to Harry Potter- a role model, mentor and legend all rolled into one. She is at once terrifying, with a strangely magnetic personality that makes you want to please her more than almost anything else, and she is an absolute stickler for perfection in and out of the ballet studio.
Pineapple Studios is a fabulous facility where anyone, of any age, at any skill level, can pay to take a casual class in whichever genre they wish. There are classical ballet classes, hip-hop, funk, salsa, Egyptian belly dance, Burlesque, waacking (do not ask me what this is, I just saw it on the timetable) and Bollywood. We took Sophie to join an elementary level ballet class. At 11 years old, she was probably the youngest person in the class by about 10 years, and the smallest person by almost half a metre. The class was made up of an odd assortment of people: a 60-something woman wearing head-to-toe pink ballet get-up, a very large man in pointe shoes (it is almost unheard of for men to wear pointe shoes in ballet, so you can imagine my surprise), two statuesque men with decent technique that were apparently in the cast of a musical, and a whole lot of women who appeared to be there for fitness, the social aspect, or because the mood struck them. The standard was abysmal, but I had this moment, watching them all leaping about, with hands flying in every direction, where I realised that I was such a fool for turning my nose up at these people’s dancing. I could learn an invaluable lesson from them. There were so many good vibes flying around this studio it was catching, and it reminded me of something very important. So often I get caught up with perfecting the girls I work with, winning the next competition and reaching exceptional exam marks, and I forget that what brought these girls and myself together in the first place was that we fell in love with dance. Like a cicada, somewhere along the way, I shed the skin of the naïve, idealist girl who used to improvise to “My Sharona” for hours on end and became someone who got caught up with moving from one day to the next, stressing about results, costumes, hairstyles and ballet drama. Of course the results in my line of work are very important, but so too is promoting that absolute joy of dance that the odd-ball class at Pineapple Studios encapsulated so perfectly.
Yesterday I took Sophie to the Tower of London in the morning, I had already been, but even so there were so many details that had slipped my mind. We spent the afternoon walking along the south side of the Thames, where we stumbled across a little pop-up carnival of sorts. It included a bar in the middle of merry-go-round where the horses had been turned into tables, a large spinning ride, the “Milk Bottle” game and several food trucks. We walked through and took some photos before continuing on to the London Eye.
The second moment I had this wonderful feeling wash over me was at the pinnacle of the London Eye. For just a moment, our entire little capsule stood there in silence and appreciated what was spread out before us. Way up there, looking down on London, I realised how lucky I was to be living that moment. In the whole scheme of things, I’m not anyone special- I’m not extra rich, or famous or beautiful or talented. I’m just a normal girl, but at that moment it didn’t matter because I felt perfectly content to exist just as I was.