It’s official: I now know more about ballet than I did when I was seven years old.
For the month of July I’ve been taking beginner-level dance classes two evenings a week. We just passed the halfway point this past week, and so far I’ve made it to every class.
I still get a bit nervous in anticipation of going to each session, but that hasn’t stopped me yet. It would be nice to cut a fine figure in leotard and tights, but right now I’ll settle for looking 1% better than last time. It’s enough to know that I can jump (albeit not high, not yet) and that I can balance on the balls of my feet in demi-pointe. My posture is improving, my legs are getting stronger, and after recovering from the evening’s quota of hopping and skipping across the dance floor my feet even feel better.
One advantage I have over seven-year-old me is the over 50 years of music experience in between. Moving in rhythm comes naturally now, although it took a lot of piano lessons and clarinet lessons and bopping around to records in order to achieve that “natural” look. Nine years of French classes in Montreal schools also make it easy to understand the terminology that gets thrown at us. “Oh, a tendu. Pas de problème.”
Unfortunately the regular-season beginners’ classes conflict with my fall schedule, so unless there’s a suitable class at another studio I’m on my own till next summer. In the meantime, when I go to watch the Royal Winnipeg Ballet this season I’ll have a better appreciation of what’s going on up on the stage, and what the dancers had to do to get to that level of skill.