It wouldn’t be a complete summer in the city without Steps on Broadway. Overcrowded studios, tweens with poor spatial awareness, cringe-worthy feet that don’t belong in pointe shoes, and poles that miraculously move location when you’re doing tour jetes. It’s an experience that fills me with nostalgia. There is always at least one familiar face, one long lost classmate reconnection and one window that refuses to open. As a young student, you were likely to take class with some incredible artists from New York City Ballet and ABT. Wendy Whelan demonstrating the perfect pirouette in Willy’s class, embarrassing and inspiring you, was a frequent occurrence. It’s not the same without David Howard, spewing magical tools for por de bras and musicality without ever leaving his chair. Aside from the jaw-dropping upcharge of class rates, not much else has really changed over the years. Except for me. I’m no longer the scared little girl who was afraid to put her pointe shoes on in front of the JKO kids. Now I’m the professional who needs a good sweaty hour and half to (attempt to) stay in shape on the off season. Now I get to class early to stretch and command my space between the young boys who stand in front but don’t learn combinations. The truth is they would rather feign arrogance than admit they have yet to learn brise vole. I take pride in knowing that they peek at me and my colleagues out of the corners of their eyes to memorize the coordination, making mental notes to practice later in the safety of their living rooms. Were we ever those kids? I don’t think so. I stood as far away from the professionals as possible, allowing them full reign of the studio. I respected their authority and their artistry, honored to be in their presence, learning from them. Blame it on technology or whatever you will, kids these days have a lot of balls. Granted, some of them are better than me, but age over hyper-mobility if you’re only 13. In a way I’m enamored of their bravado. I was so shy at their age, I may have overheard some insightful mutterings had I just pushed my way to the front of the room. Now the studios at Steps feel saturated with the over-zealous youths, perhaps it was always that way and it’s only my perspective that has changed.