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Expressionist painting of a redheaded ballerina in a profile against the light pink background that matches her pink tutu
**click portrait to enlarge**
(mixed media painting on canvas, 16X20, 2005)

"Ballerina"

Just like most little girls, I briefly had dreams of becoming a ballerina. I didn't dream of it because I wanted a pink tutu. It was the fame that I craved. After I saw a movie about Anna Pavlova I wanted to have all the attention that prima-ballerinas get. I imagined myself dancing on stage in some fancy production of The Ballets Russes with all eyes in the audience focused on my little self.

Seeing me jump around our apartment in what I perceived to be graceful pirouettes my parents signed me up for ballet lessons. However, in the Soviet Union (unlike it is in the U.S.) children could not continue on participating in activities that they had no talent for and my absence of talent became apparent rather fast. I was asked to leave the studio after a few classes. The teacher said that I had two left feet, was completely tone deaf and just jumped around to my own tune instead of following her instructions. I was heart-broken for a bit. Especially since my less-than-skinny-ballerina-like cousin was allowed to stay...

Looking back, I'm actually glad that it happened, because I would've wasted a lot of time trying to be something that I wasn't meant to be. Instead I ended up having more time to develop my artistic skills. This experience made me think about all the kids whose parents encourage them to do everything that their kids' little hearts desire. I don't believe most people are meant to be good at everything. All of us are different and have different talents and that's what makes our lives so interesting.

Sometimes it is hard to recognize that one extra-special talent you have and to figure out who you were meant to be. Furthermore, it takes effort to develop one's talent, and I still believe that people who work hard and don't spread their talents thin will always achieve their dreams. It's unfortunate that hard work became somewhat unfashionable among so many in our society because it means there going to be more unfulfilled dreams in our future.

"Nothing is so common-place as to wish to be remarkable."
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

"Almost nobody dances sober, unless they happen to be insane."
H. P. Lovecraft

"Ballet: Men wearing pants so tight that you can tell what religion they are."
Robin Williams