Why it May Take a Dancer 25 Years to Learn to Drive

 

IMG_1242The day has finally come where I can officially and legally drive a car! Oh yes, it has taken me almost 25 years to get my driving licence, but of course I have a very valid reason why I left it so late in life to try.

When I was 16 I moved to London to start as a student at the Royal Ballet Upper School, where I trained and lived for 3 years in one of Europe’s most vibrant and exciting cities with 30 other eager dancers from all over the world. It was probably one of the scariest thing I have ever done. I felt scared, nervous, excited, and thrilled all at the same time. I remember driving there like it was yesterday: me, my mum, ‘Wicked the Musical’ playing on the radio, and a car full of me worldly belonging heading to my new home.

For the first year we all lived in a halfway house in Barons Court, taking the tube to Covent Garden every day for school. For the second and third year we had to find flats for ourselves within London. At the time it seemed so normal because we were all doing it, but when I tell people now that as a teenager I lived in Leicester Square I realise how lucky I was.

Our days at school were exhausting: working till about 6pm each evening and half days on Saturdays.  The training was so intense and focused some days it took everything I had not to fall asleep during Pilates class. However, somehow we still managed to find the energy to have a ball and living for the weekend was often how we did it. 

My life was so focused in the centre of London and with only going home for holidays I never felt the need to drive, no one needs a car in London. And after my time there I moved to Germany, where I have my beloved bike and live 5 minutes away from the theatre.

I realised, however, it was time to learn to drive when my husband had been my chauffeur for 6 years and my parents for 24 years. Enough of that, it is time I sat in the driving seat. I decided to do an intense 3 week preparation this summer and with my fingers crossed, pass at the end. And would you believe, it worked. I honestly never thought the day would come and it feels so good that it has.

Does anybody want a lift? I can drive.IMG_1259

Now I just have to master driving on the wrong- yet right-side of the road in Germany.

With love,

Harriet

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