I’ve started doing some basic ballet exercises again. Not really a self class or a practice. Just a few moments here and there throughout the day for some plies and some tendu’s. Perhaps one of the biggest challenges for adult dancers who have suffered a break in practice, either from an injury, a pandemic, or any other manner of life challenges, is the mental part of getting back to dance. If you, like me, have put on weight, lost flexibility, have a variety of new challenges, the big part to starting again is to create a space for ballet. I’m not talking about an actually space to dance although I think that is a part of it. But, to create that space for ballet as an important part of life again. So much has happened to all of us in the last couple of years, we are all out of sorts. I think it’s okay to give ourselves permission to embrace movement and music as important again.
I have a small step ladder in my study. I use it to reach my bookshelves because I’m short but it’s actually also a perfect baby sized barre. Every now and again when I’m in my study doing work I find myself at this little barre just going through a few exercises that I remember from ballet class. No music, I just count. It feels good and each time I do it, it feels better. My body remembers and it doesn’t. Things feel clunkier, stiffer, but I push through it and hear the voice of my ballet teacher saying “fight for it” so I do. I hear the last ballet teacher that I had right before lock down, after the class he told me that everything was there. It was a meaningful statement to me because I had just confessed to him that I had been out of class for literally years and it was a lone class but a truly wonderful and necessary class for me. At the time, I was ready to get back to class but it was not to happen because just weeks after returning home to Los Angeles from London the world shut down and my return to ballet class in 2019 never happened.
And now I find myself in Albemarle, North Carolina, where ballet classes for adults aren’t really a thing and it’s been another year that has gone by since I arrived here and found myself not mentally nor emotionally ready to dance after all. The little step stool is beckoning me though and the ability to take classes via Zoom mean that even at a distance, even without a studio, ballet class can happen again. And who knows, maybe I can find a studio that will be open to teaching adults in the near future. It’s not just about having a place to dance, it is very much about creating a space in my heart and mind for ballet again.