So, I was thinking about ballet (’cause it’s something I do fairly often throughout the day and all), and I was thinking of back when I was brand, brand new, when ballet was close to a total mystery to me. When so many of the things I’ve learned,that I sometimes take for granted, were not known to me. What a crazy time that was! LOL
I had a memory of doing barre with my right hand on the barre, except it was the first side and everyone else was facing the opposite way. Quite simply, I didn’t know that we always start with the left hand at the barre, and though I’m sure that it was mentioned, amidst all the various facts and instructions we were given my brain was having trouble retaining it all. I remember a girl silently motioning me to turn around, which I quickly did, hoping to avoid drawing attention to myself. I realized with dismay that there was no one for me to follow (though at the time I didn’t think of it as following, but ‘who will I copy‘ lol), as that was why I had been facing the opposite way to begin with. Obviously I didn’t know that it was a good idea to pick a spot at the barre where I could be behind someone on both sides. At the time, I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why no one ever wanted to share a barre on my side (answer: because I was definitely not the person to be following, as I didn’t know how to do any of the of the barre combinations, and they didn’t want to mess up as well by following me. I wouldn’t have wanted to follow me. The first time a teacher ever told someone to follow me at barre I totally had an internal “Yay!” moment; like, finally, I’m not completely horrible at barre!).
In short, back then even barre was extremely intimidating. Being a beginner is hard!
Then there was the issue of using the inside leg as the working leg. Much easier to balance while tenduing while using the inside leg, right? I have a very hazy memory of hearing someone get corrected on using the wrong leg and then applying the correction, gripping tightly on the barre to not fall over. And using the outside leg to stand on sure made holding a passe balance on flat (well, not technically a balance, as I was still not letting go of the barre – at all) waaaaay less scary at the time…
These memories of my first couple months of ballet fill me with conflicting emotions. On the one hand I’m extremely happy, because I have improved so much from back then. I mean, I couldn’t even balance away from the barre on two feet it first position on flat! It makes me feel so hopeful, like if it was possible for me to improve this much, what else is possible, you know? And yes, I do feel somewhat proud of myself, if anything for sticking to something and working hard, and finding room for discipline in at least one area of my life. Ballet will give you focus, that’s for sure.
On the other hand, I feel somewhat sad. No matter what, I will never be at that level of beginner again. Even if I were to take a long break, and my muscles were to lose their conditioning and my body were to lose it’s strength, I’ll still remember. I’ll know that we start with the left hand at the barre, the outside leg is the working leg (unless we’re working both legs in the same combination, though that it not what I’m talking about), we turn toward the barre (again, unless it’s specified to do something else) as though it were our dance partner, and we put hair that’s long enough to be tied up in a bun to avoid whacking our face with it while spotting. I’ll take this knowledge, and much more, to any class that I were to take. I can take a higher level class and feel somewhat like a beginner again, as I fumble though combinations and at times use the wrong working leg or arms, but I’ll never again be a brand-new beginner. It’s a somewhat weird, sad thought.
Or perhaps I’m doing that over-thinking thing again…
But it is fun to think about ballet and reminisce on early ballet memories 🙂
And no, I never hit myself in the face with my hair in class, as I followed the dress code and bunned up. However, while practicing turns at home I found out first hand why a bun is fuctional!