Am I the mom from Black Swan? Surely not. Rosie’s first audition

I’m sitting in the lobby at dance yakking it up with a bunch of moms when Rosie emerges and very tersely says, “Let’s go. NOW.”

She’s walking quickly and since her legs are now longer than mine, I trail behind. I’m wondering what will happen the moment we hit the car. She’s just left her first dance audition and based on her reaction as we left, it may not have gone well. If so, it’s all my fault.

All Rosie’s ever wanted to be is a ballerina (that and a Neonatologist, but honestly since she’s extremely right-brained, we have a better shot at dance). As a little girl, she walked around on her toes, spinning  around the room on a daily basis. She’s taken ballet classes two or three times a week for the past three years to work towards her goal of earning her pointe shoes. She’s been longing for the chance to finally be old enough to become a part of Ballet Legacy, our school’s premier company.

This weekend, she finally was old enough to audition and she was excited. She was also extremely nervous and the night before wasn’t sure she’d be able to pull it off (and who could blame her?). She was sick to her stomach, scared to death and I, as a parent had to try and figure out what the hell to say to make it better.

“Mama,” she said crying. “I can’t do this. Maybe I can just send in a video like some of the other girls.”

“Rosie,” I said in my most soothing Mommy tone. “You HAVE to do this. This is your one shot for the year and if you don’t audition tomorrow, you’ll have to wait another year before you get another chance and you’ve wanted to do this forever.”

She looked at me and gave me a small nod. Got out of the shower and we sat down to talk. I needed to uncover what was really bothering her.

She didn’t want to be the youngest and most inexperienced (“Not a problem,” I told her and reminded her that there were a number of girls her age who said they were auditioning too). And, the fact that there would be live judges (actually, just adjudicators but when you are 11 there’s no difference) was really making her nervous. Finally, the thought of all the older girls watching scared her as well (‘Remember,” I said. “They were all in your shoes once too. They know what it’s like to try-out for the first time.”)

Rosie got it in bed, fell asleep and actually slept all night. I thought we were out of the woods. Until the next day.

While we were a little cranky and out-of-sorts due to nerves, we made it to the audition just fine. I walked her in just as she asked and very promptly left when she turned to me and said, “Mama, YOU are freaking me out.”

I came back 2 1/2 hours later hoping for the best when I see my daughter blast out of the studio with her bag high on her shoulder. “Let’s go. NOW,” she says.

Please God tell me that my child will never think of me like this (oh the thoughts that raced through my head)

The short walk to the car seemed like an eternity to me. I tried to replay the conversations we had the night before because whatever just happened in that audition was probably going to be my fault. I was waiting to hear Rosie say, “You made me do this,” and I would get blamed for the whole ugly mess. My mind started racing. This was what she wanted, right? Did I force her to do this? Am I going to turn out like the mom in Black Swan?

We sat in the car for a moment before Rosie’s tears came. She looked at me and said, “Mama, none of the girls my age showed up. I was the only one. And, it was HARD. REALLY HARD.”

I took her hand in mine and wiped her tears. I waited for her to resume her story.

“I couldn’t do some of it and Michele had to help me. I was so scared I made so many mistakes. And, then in the middle, I think I cried when one of the judges pointed at me,” she said as the tears slid down her cheeks.

I sat stone-still not knowing what to say. She continued.

“But then they were so nice.” She took a deep breath. “You know how you have to stand in order? They let me go stand by Kristi and that made it better.” She smiled.

“Rosie,” I said. “I think it’s really crappy that none of the other girls in your classes showed. But guess what? YOU did.”

She held my hand tighter.

“And, you not only showed up, you finished. You know what? You showed them that you wanted it and that you had conviction. And, that says a lot. Even though you were nervous, you did it. You should be so proud of yourself.”

She beamed from ear-to-ear.

“You’re right Mama. I did it! But what if I don’t make it?” she said.

“Then we’ll try another year,” I told her. “The important thing is you showed them that you wanted to be part of Ballet Legacy so much that you’d tough out the audition.”

We left the studio and went for ice cream (which in my opinion can fix anything). We talked a bit more about the audition and she laughed. I was so proud of my dancer for her tenacity (and I breathed  a sigh of relief that I wasn’t a bad mom. This time).



About debcb

All Deb wanted to do was work, until she had Rosie. For the past decade, she's juggled a full-time career, high-profile volunteer work and mommyhood.


  1. How scary it must have been for her. And how awesome it must be to have a mom like you on her side!

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