I go to a little local dance school in my town, in a space that is also shared by the playgroup, the scouts and the local newspaper. Bobbie, the Principal, has been running it for only a few years, in the meantime fulfilling her dream of having her own school. It's by no means the biggest school, but it's fabulous for our small town and I love seeing young women going out and making their dreams come true. It also means that there is a dance school just around the corner from where I live and she happily has an Open ballet class....meaning 13 years and over.....which means that even me at the ripe old age of 'I turned 21 quite a while ago'....can even attend.
I love it.
This week just gone was my fifth class and Bobbie said something to me that really lit my flame of enthusiasm. She said that people like me are the reason she loves teaching. Huh?? The look on my face prompted her to explain, but apparently I have improved so much since the start of term. She said that she can see that I take everything she tells me on board and that I really work towards applying myself to improving.
I certainly don't have perfect technique yet, but my turnout isn't half bad, and the muscles in my thighs are weirdly defined now. No, really! If you recall from past posts I have been on a lose baby weight crusade and been exercising for 30 minutes a day (give or take) and that includes a whole pile of squats, yoga and now plies at the barre (which is actually my chest of drawers or my kitchen bench....whichever takes my fancy!)
But perhaps she could be right in saying that I've improved. I'm really trying hard to get it right. Ballet is so technical and by doing it correctly I'm going to limit the chance of injury, which an ongoing, should I say 'injury', is the reason I'm dancing in the first place.
So why ballet? Why start as an adult? Probably the simple answer is...why not? I never did ballet as a child, although I wanted to, and even though I did do it for a short while in my 20s, I wasn't able to stick with it. I did dance throughout school in various school productions, and later once I'd left school. I also did gymnastics in secondary school and never really lost my bend-ability, so that has really helped me step into ballet fairly easily.
Ballet for Adults and Why You Should Dance
Core Strength. - Apparently ballet is fabulous for your core strength. Every move you do requires core strength, and this is one of the main reasons I started. With my bad back I have been searching for something to do that is going to strengthen my whole mid-section. Yep, I've definitely found it. Even the slow movements and exercises at the barre leave me sweating.
Company. - When I say 'company' I don't mean doing anything fabulous like joining 'a company' and becoming their next Prima Ballerina, but rather I'm getting out and about and doing something with other women. Ok, so there are a few in their teens, but one other student is a mum like me and somewhere around my age. As an added bonus it seems that we are becoming friends!
Something for me. - When you have kids you are a slave to their wants and needs. No truly. Of course you do it because you love them and that's what being a mum is all about, but in a nutshell...that pretty much sums it up. I am a taxi service, a courier, a cook, a washer woman, a cleaner, a nurse, a disciplinarian, an event planner, a time manager, a secretary, a personal shopper and the sanitation officer. Within all of that there is not much time left for me, and unless you make time for yourself and do something for yourself, it never happens. So this is it, my ballet class. Half an hour a week of ballet bliss where "it's all about me!"
Joy. - I actually love to dance. It's something I don't even think my husband knows about me. He was really weirded out that I was doing ballet and wondered why on earth I was bothering. I think HE was having strange images of me in a leotard and tutu. (I promise, I won't ever go there) I don't know, but perhaps if I am involved in the end of year concert he will see that I can actually dance ....although finding a bit of rope strong enough to tie him down to get him to actually WATCH a dance concert would be a challenge in itself.
Dance is for everyone. - Even if you're not any good, even if you pirouette and fall flat on your face, if you never get up 'en pointe' and look a little saggy in your leotard. Dance is fun, it's exercise and it's liberating. I love it! Try it, I think you will too!!