It’s only been about seven or eight months since I started going like gangbusters to ballet classes, multiple classes, every week. Before that, it was sporadic at best with not a lot to show for it. Since I started working with Awesome Ballet Teacher, the changes have been just short of miraculous – I’ve learned so much so fast and the changes in my body have been incredible – I get stopped all the time by people asking me what I’m doing and they are always shocked to hear its ballet and not some kind of boot camp training or pact with the devil.
Still every couple of months or so I question what in the heck I think I’m doing taking ballet lessons. I can’t help myself, I’m overly rational and feel the need to dissect everything to death and back. What am I doing? I mean, the reality is that it makes no sense whatsoever for a grown woman to be dressing up in tights and leotard in (sort of) public several times a week to try to learn how to spin around on one foot. It really doesn’t. When you factor in the costs of lessons, parking, and gas, along with the cost of the leotard and the tights, etc. this whole thing does get a bit pricey. Add to that the costs forgone, that is, the cost of my time for which I could be doing something else, like taking more consulting or lecturing jobs, working on my dissertation, or just sitting around watching TV and uh… doing whatever it is that people do who aren’t in ballet class three to four nights a week.
I really start to see the frivolity of the whole thing. After all, I could just go for a run, ride my bike or go to the gym for exercise like normal grown ups do. I mean, really, when you think about it what could possibly be more ridiculous than a gaggle of grown women with a lost looking guy or two thrown in there trying to pas de bourre around a dance studio looking like an overgrown, out of control romper room gone awry?!
There is always a day where I convince myself that my time would be better served doing something that has a payoff. I mean even when I ran there where marathons to complete and metals to win. Somewhere in some dusty boxes are trophies and awards for accomplishments and triumphs. I’m never going to be a ballerina, I’m never going to perform, I’m never going to be able to do anything remotely awesome in pointe shoes and a tutu. I sometimes have myself completely convinced that when I finish my current series of ballet classes, I’m not going to renew because I need to be a better steward of my time and efforts. I’m usually in my car sitting in cross town traffic when I make this astute decision.
Then… then I finish ballet class. I grab my stuff out of the cubby and sit on the floor with my fellow not-real-ballerinas-in-training and not one of us can stop smiling. Awesome Ballet Teacher gives us updates while we thrown on jackets, cover ups, and change our shoes. I’m hot, sweaty, just starting to get post workout soreness; I’m also happy, inspired, and amazingly energized. I thank Awesome Ballet Teacher and step out into the cool evening, head down the stairs and off to my car, I know that I can’t give this up. There is nothing else like ballet class high, this is my payoff, this feeling that almost can’t be explained in words but that we acknowledge between us, we few ballet class addicts, as we walk out that door. It’s the way that ballet is challenging and somehow relaxing at the same time, the way it makes you stronger and yet limber too, its technical and creative, its painful and pleasurable. Ballet is the price and the payoff. I don’t need a spotlight or a tutu or applause. All I need is a sprung floor, a barre, an iPod loaded with beautiful music, and, of course, an Awesome Ballet Teacher. I can’t give this up. There could not possibly be a better use of my time.