I am not ashamed to say I am taking ballet again. Though I probably won’t go around telling people. “Hello, I am 33 years old, unemployed, er I mean between jobs, let’s make that between homes too…did I mention I am taking ballet lessons?” It seems easier to post about, since I know that literally one person read my blog yesterday, and that one person might have been me. I, however, am surprised and grateful that I am not the only adult obsessed with taking ballet. I’ve met ladies older than me that are committed to the whole pink tights, black leotard, and barre exercises. It makes my heart happy to see them working so hard at something they love.
My first memories of ballet were probably around 5 in my living room in front of a small, square television. I remember watching the nutcracker and being quite taken with the silky movements, flowing costumes, and of course the music. I would dream of being able to do turns and being able to stretch my body this or that way, and of course, being tall.
Here it is though, I am short, I am a little stocky, and I am awkward in a leotard. To me wearing tights made me feel well, tight! And I was tight, I wasn’t flexible. I did take ballet and gymnastics growing up and I had to work harder than everyone to be flexible and I still couldn’t do the splits all the way. The thing that really got me at that age though, was a word of confirmation from the ballet teacher, that I was somewhere close to on the right track. While other kids were praised for their turn out, or good feet, I got nothing “work on your turn out”. I also remember something about having no arch in my feet. I was looking for something positive, but got a lot of negatives. In the end being good at something was more important to me, than trying to work at something I liked but wasn’t any good at. So I quit and I found something else I could be good at. I am not actually regretful at all, I would never have been a dancer and much of my parents money would have been wasted (ballet is not cheap). But I never learned to dance, and I am not ok with that.
Around the time I quit ballet I had discovered that I could play soccer. I discovered this while playing on the boys team, at my age there wasn’t a girls team yet, though soccer was becoming more popular with the girls. So even though I had a horrible turn out and couldn’t plie, I could run and I could kick the ball. I actually went to college on a soccer scholarship and I have fond memories of playing soccer, some of the best memories.
If I don’t learn to dance, it won’t be the end of the world, at all, I have a plate full of hobbies I can barely keep up with. I can’t quite give it up though, because every Christmas someone plays music from the Nutcracker, and every Christmas without fail I start doing stretches wondering if it’s possible for this wound up body to relax. I want to do splits and backbends without breaking something. I tried to do a backbend a few weeks ago and after one second I ended up back on the floor seeing stars.
I’ve been working on it though, I did a backbend for a whole 5 seconds today before tumbling to the ground trying to slow my breathing, who knew doing a backbend was such a workout? I have taken 4 total adult ballet classes and today found a girl on Youtube that gives amazing tips and routines to follow along from home! Mind blown. I can’t believe I can save money and embarrassment by practicing at home, and when I can’t follow the routine I just rewind and start again. Youtube is magical.
So far my absolute favorite ballet channel on Youtube is Kathryn Morgan. She has barre exercises, as well as center, stretches, and how to improve specific ballet moves. I am learning a TON from practicing with her videos. And my dream of practicing every day is achievable.
I like this time we are in, when no matter how old or young you are, you are welcome to try something new. I like that the focus in my life is not to be the best at something, or have to do something and get noticed for it (I do not plan on ever being on So You Think You Can Dance). When you can learn something just for the fun of learning, your life feels lighter and freer. No one is judging you or criticizing. It’s a beautiful thing. Here’s to trying something you were afraid of trying before!