I haven’t really done a ballet post in a while, so I don’t feel too badly about talking about it again. Also, this post will be accompanied by .gifs from Dexter’s Laboratory. You’re welcome.
I think I mentioned recently that I joined a second ballet class. The new class happens on Saturday mornings at a new studio. I take my Thursday night class with two work friends. However, unlike the Thursday class…
…I am not taking it with any of my friends. It is a big class, but doing ballet as an out-of-shape adult with a bunch of strangers can be intimidating, regardless of the class size. It is a lot easier to make a mistake in class if you can turn to your friend and make a snarky comment on how graceful you are rather than just stewing in your lace of poise, grace, and general ballerina-ness.
Regardless, I am very happy with my Saturday class and, taking this class alone has done two things:
1. It has made me more brave.
Now I am so much more confident dancing before the unimpressed masses. Not unlike Dee-Dee here…
2. I am actually improving.
No, I’m not a breath-taking ballerina at all, but I can see and feel improvements in how I move. What’s more, I’m not the worst dancer in my Saturday class. When she uses terms like dégagé, tendu, grand battement, and pas de chat I totally know what she’s talking about. I am catching on to barre exercises the first time the instructions are given. I’ve never taken part in a physical activity that I actually looked forward to. Sure, I’d participate, but if practice/class was cancelled, I’d be content. However, with ballet, I’m there every week and I miss it if class gets cancelled. I’m pretty proud of myself for working hard and trying something new. Regardless of my skill level, ballet brings me joy.
I think I will have some degree of self-consciousness until I die, but I’m done with letting that stop me from trying new things. I’ll never make money as a ballerina, but I am getting stronger. I am becoming more flexible. I am maybe even becoming more graceful. This has made me braver, and it is a beautiful thing.
But here is the best part:
I am not just “improving”, but I’m progressing. What I mean by that is, I am actually on a path to the “next phase” of a ballet dancer. Do you know what that next phase is?
Yep. Pointe. Freaking pointe. This is my future:
I’ve been working on some exercises at home to help me strengthen my feet (spoiler alert: they are really weak). According to my Thursday night teacher, we could be starting pointe in a year. One year.
I remember debating whether or not I should even start taking ballet class at the beginning of the year. I had a litany of reasons to avoid any sort of dance class. I’m out of shape, I’m heavy, I’m not graceful, I’m easily knocked off balance, I don’t have much rhythm. But I pushed those insecurities to the back of my mind and jumped in, face first. I allowed myself to be satisfied with myself where I was in that moment, and I plunged forward to future goals. Now I’m on the path to pointe. I’m losing weight, gaining muscle and flexibility, feeling confident, and starting to work towards pointe.
If you couldn’t tell, I’m tickled pink about this. I’m doing relevés every chance I get (in line at the movies, prepping food in the kitchen, standing around at the office) and arch stretches any time I can while I’m seated (in addition to some more intentional practice, of course). So, if you see me walking around on my tip-toes, you’ll know I’m not losing it, but that I’m training for pointe.