“Your daughter has beautifully arched feet,” she told my mom. “Although we wish all dancers had high arches, it will make it more difficult for her to learn pointe. Keep her out of the advanced classes so that she doesn’t become discouraged.”
I got into the program and stayed in the beginner classes for awhile. A typical fifth-grader with a dream to be a professional ballerina, I grew impatient and wanted to be on pointe, like the other dancers my age. A year or two later, fueled by ambition, I decided to spend a summer training with advanced dancers, junior members of the ballet company. They were all able to do these beautiful pirouettes and other sophisticated moves on pointe, while I was confined to pliés at the barre—my feet were too unstable, due to my high arches.
Eventually I got discouraged and quit ballet altogether.