Dear J______, I'm still quite angry with you, I think. It's mixed with guilt, of course, similar to the guilt I feel when I have anger at my parents for things they (usually) unknowingly did to me as a child. But you knew...you knew how much I loved dance, especially as I got older and fell in love with ballet. I worked harder than any student you had ever had and you alone held the key to my progress. I didn't have the internet back then or I would've realized how far behind I was for my age. Sure, I became one of the best dancers in the whole town, but being a big fish in a small pond counts for nothing when you're seventeen and your parents finally let you go to a performing arts summer camp and realize there are 12 and 13 year olds in the real ballet schools who can dance circles around you. Sure, they were subtle differences, barely visible to the uninitiated, but they were things that really matter in the ballet world, a world YOU KNEW I longed for with all my young heart. I knew it wasn't your personal specialty back when you performed, but I thought you knew how to teach it. Not only did you not teach me enough, but you taught me incorrectly on a lot of things. My ankles still click when I point my feet because you didn't have me go over all the way when I did plies on pointe. There were things you didn't know but you were either too ignorant to realize it or you thought you'd just wing it. I can't believe you didn't care, but I think you didn't want to lose me and my tuition money to a real dance school. I trusted you and loved you and you should've guided me. I worshiped the ground you walked on to the point that my mother was jealous of how much I loved spending time with you. After I spent my junior year taking classes at the G_______ School of Ballet you had me teaching your "advanced" students. I wonder if you know that I told several students - the ones who wanted to get somewhere instead of just dancing as a supplement to cheerleading or whatever - I told them to get their butts to one of the real ballet schools in neighboring towns and several of them did. I opened the door for a handful of them and I'm proud of that, but it should've been YOUR job, not a teenage assistant teacher. I know you hired a real ballet teacher soon after I left (because you wouldn't pay me what I was owed, but that's another story), and I know I had a lot to do with it. I don't know how to not be angry with you. I've buried it for so long and told myself I'm over it, but I've never fully dealt with it. You used me as your "star" in your recitals and you kept me down at your small-town, rinky dink level and you let me think I was making progress. Screw you. I don't wish any ill on you, and I have a lot of good memories of my time at the studio - I practically grew up there. But you altered the course of my life forever, and (no thanks to you) I've made that into a very good thing. Ballet is a brutal, cutthroat world, and I'm not sorry I didn't end up there long-term, but I should've had the chance to experience it. I love my life now, but sometimes I can't help but wonder what it would've been like to even dance in the ensemble of a professional company, even for a season. I'll never know and it's your fault. I blamed my parents for not taking my dancing seriously enough but they didn't know the world of dance like you did. You knew and you withheld it from me.