The Ones We Love - My Tiny Dancer
By David Bowden
4 Oct 2011
My Tiny Dancer
When this first image was taken my "Tiny Dancer" was only 9 years old. At that time, my daughter had already been dancing for 7 years. In this brief career of dancing, she has had the privilege of being in 8 productions. One of which was to dance with the Moscow Ballet in the Nutcracker. In this shot, she was alone on stage in the limelight for just a few short seconds, just enough time to courtesy and exit stage right. From fluffy tutu to impatiently waiting for point she has grown up so very fast. It amazes me to see how her involvement in dance has made her mature, given her focus and sparked a passion in someone so very young.
At first, I wasn't certain she wouldn't stick with dance. Her attention for it wasn't there, and her progress seemed to be slow. Then one day, her poise changed, she was elongated, her stance was spot on, her form improved and she danced as if she had been doing it far more than she had. Now, she dances everywhere she goes. She dances in the hall, on the hard wood floor, while she's cleaning her room or walking the dog. Literally everywhere she goes. She told me once that she hears the music in her head and can dance to it just like she's in class, perfecting her turns, her hand movements and form. It's amazing how she is taken by the music and the movements and how well she can convey the subtle elegance or emotion of the music by her dance. It's as if she was made for it.
During the nutcracker, the prince from the production sought her out to carry her on stage for the curtain call. She was overcome with excitement. At the end of the show the prince took a moment to tell the costume coordinator who spoke English to please tell her mother that she is a fine dancer and hopes that she continues. She has his as well as everyone in the Moscow Ballet company's autograph on a program framed on her wall. His words of encouragement carried her to new heights and focused her on making even greater progress.
When I look at this picture I don't just see my seven year old daughter, I see a dancer, in perfect form humbly enjoying her very brief moment alone on stage. It's reminder of progress, hard work and devotion to a beautiful art form.
I first posted this image on JPGmag 3 years ago. My Tiny Dancer is growing up. In the first shot, the great debate amongst her dance teachers at the time was if they should start her on point or not. She is exceptional at dancing and was getting bored. However, starting a child that young on point is bad for their growth plates in their legs. While she begrudgingly accepted the delay she was allowed to start point at 10½. She, immediately took to point, and progressed quickly in her classes.
My daughter will be 12 in a couple of months. It really is amazing to see how she has gone from bouncing in place to being on point in 10 years. In the second shot, she was doing a move that she shouldn't be able to do yet. This was a shot for her resume when she was applying for the Austin Ballet, Joffrey Ballet and Bolshoi Ballet summer intensives. (She was accepted by all three). She's growing up too fast and with her maturity and poise I often forget she is just a child. This shot is nothing fancy. It was taken in my kitchen and printed almost immediately. She had to have a head shot, flat shot and point shot for her resume when applying for the intensives. I had to set up quick, didn't have my backdrops and shot against a textured painted all. This was never to be a formal shot, it was so they could see her form. This shot now occupies a very special place on my desk and reminds me of the simple grace and beauty that she consistently brings into my life.