Why on Earth does it have to be Ballet?

For starters: I am not a musical person! Never was!

My mum is the only person in this whole world who thinks that I have a nice voice, but mums believe their babies are pretty…

In my early teens I was admitted to a gymnastics class and we did all sorts of dance stuff. The thing I liked best was the tight red body with long sleeves and white rim – the ones we wore at school were cotton and had short sleeves. This one was elegant, and I felt very special. I even made it into a performance and didn’t fail my mates. Blessed times! Everything after that was fraught with embarrassment and a lot of stiffness around the hips.

See, in the later teens one wants to be cool – and I just wasn’t. When dancing at parties all the others had these routines like 'The Hustle' and no way could I ever remember which way round to turn. Tried my luck with ballroom dancing, but after a year or so the trainer has certain expectations in regard to the pupil’s performance – well, needless to say that I was not at the top of the class. Same with Jazz dance and any other kind of aerobics. I can never remember the routines and what do I know where left and right is. Since I moved to England everything is upside down anyway. When giving directions I point, but I don’t say.

So, now it is ballet, eh?

Yeah well, although I am not good at it I just like moving to music. So I thought I’d give it another shot and try to actually learn how to do it right. And what is better to find balance and posture than ballet? So one might think.

Off I went to the newly opened dance centre to enquire, got confirmed that it is not a problem that I already missed the first two classes of the term – we proceed slowly – and decided to be back: Monday, 6PM, be early, admission from 5, classes fill quickly.

An hour before I wanted to leave the house I realised that changing there means changing room…oh! … shaving! … oh! … barefoot … feet … oh! …

Made it well in time nevertheless, paid my five quid, changed and met the trainer before everybody else came. Good! Can brief her that I am an utter newbie.

She is very kind, very ballet, half a head shorter than I am and half as thin, very elegant and fragile looking with an English rose complexion and a similarly faint voice. 'Oh yes we have shelves, you can have your things and water in here and no that is no problem that you are new – we are proceeding slowly…' - OK!

Oh my goodness! You should have seen me!

I had my place next to an open window, street noise deafening the one ear while the other one was trying to catch the faint voice. I whished I were a cartoon character to extend it into a satellite dish – not that I would have understood any of the French murmuring. Turns out that these people are doing ballet since a long time, they know the drills, they are just not daring enough to take it to the next, meaning advanced, level.

Clutching the bar with the left hand I had a girl in front of me who was really good and whom I could follow. As soon as we had to turn round to move the other half of the body I was lost. Of course one can’t turn the head to search for the trainer, so most of the time arms and legs were fiddling purposelessly in the air like a bug on its back.

And then the highlight: Ever seen Fame or any other dance movie? They always split into groups and then diagonally jumping and twirling through the room followed by the next group and then the next, and they all look so gorgeous as they jump and twirl… Ahemmm… in the last group was yours truly, … and step step and slide and stop and hop and turn – no the other direction – and hop and step! … Yep! Me! And you know what? I wasn’t the least bit embarrassed. I don’t know if it’s the Omega 3 that I am taking since more than a year or just a newly gained confidence. Probably being older is a good thing: Nobody expects you to be cool or perfect. People are sort of impressed that one tries at all… fine by me!

The next day I had a lovely muscle ache in all the right places – bum, thighs and calves. So I will be back and see if I can nail that task, and if not: Who cares?! At least it does my rear some good!

Update 22th October: Class 2, two weeks later

Apparently I wasn't the only one in need for a hearing aid, and apparently the acoustic of the room gives instructers a hard time to get through. But the dear thing did her best and so the lesson was much better.

And it seems as if she didn't want to put off newbies by correcting them too much - hence me not getting help. This time she jumped in and I felt like actually improving. I now know that I am not too bad with arms, but a crap jumper; that my pelvis is all over the place and hence my balance is lacking and most of all - that I am stiff as a log. Not that I was told, but in being able to follow the instructions better I easily could feel for myself where I am lacking skill.

One thing is good though: I enjoy being old! Nobody is expecting anything brilliant - Yay! For the first time I can make a monkey out of myself without feeling like one. Brilliant!

Definitely will go on!

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Author: Rika