My first ballet class ever was an experience I’ll never forget. I was excited, of course, but now looking back I feel like I was so ignorant because I had no idea just how hard it was going to be! I had been doing yoga for a few months by then, as well as walking uphill frequently, and of course I knew that it wouldn’t be easy, but I had no idea how hard just simply standing in first position would be. Come to think of it, I had no idea what first position was.
When I decided to sign up for ballet lessons, it was kind of on impulse. After a lifetime of being heavy (for my frame) and inactive I had lost some weight – and kept it off – about a year before and was having one of those “live for the moment, age is nothing but a number” moments, so when thinking back of stuff I had wanted to do as a child but was unable to, of course I though of ballet. And when I saw that my community college offered ballet lessons for the cost of one unit I was like “heck, yea!”
Except I didn’t research what a ballet class was actually like. Didn’t look up any of the many, many youtube videos available, nor did I read any of the fine blogs that I have read through by now. No, I figured since it was a class all I would have to do would be to show up on time and ready to learn.
So there I was, first day of classs. And all the girls are like ten years younger than me, which wasn’t too surprising since my classmates in other classes are also that age. What did intimidate me, however, was that they actually seemed to know about ballet. And they had done it before. So much for it being a beginner class (I didn’t learn until much later that a (prospective) dancer can spend a while at the beginning level before moving up).
There was no time to stand around and be intimidated though. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I had both overestimated my physical fitness level and underestimated the sheer difficulty of anything ballet! My thighs burned in plies, I though my calves were on fire when we rose up on demi-point , and there was just no way that I could balance.
On the positive side, at least that day we stayed at the barre and there was no opportunity for me to completely embarrass myself in center (that came another day ). Regardless, my calves and thighs were so sore that I barely dragged myself to my car after class and wondered what I had gotten into.
I guess I should clarify that at the time I had no idea that I would do ballet for longer than that semester. I was just acting out a childhood fantasy. But I like a challenge and I love to dance, though it has never been one of my talents. But ballet, I just love the way it makes me feel. And suddenly, my lack of talent doesn’t matter to me. My lack of an appropriate body type Is no longer important. Once I begin to dance I just feel so alive.
And thats why I keep doing it.