Creating a space for ballet

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.

My little step stool, oh sorry, my baby barre.

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.

A New Ballet Barre

Or Why I Advise You To Take ALL Your Things With You If You Move During A Pandemic

One of the things about moving is making hundreds, maybe even thousands, of decisions about what to take with you to your new place. Normally, I think, people take the opportunity to get rid of a lot of stuff and buy a lot of new stuff when they move. For us, we were going from a really small house to a much larger house so inevitably we knew that we were going to have to buy a lot more furniture when we arrived. But when you sell a small house you have to empty out a bunch of stuff before you put it on the market anyway because less stuff in a small house means that it looks like a slighter bigger small house and that’s preferable. Staging our house for photos and sale meant starting out by getting rid of or storing a lot of our stuff. Then of course there is the cost involved in moving things all the way across the United States. It’s a big country, it’s pricey to put a ton of stuff on a truck and have someone drive it all the way to the other side. It goes by size and weight and a lot of our stuff is freakishly heavy especially if you consider all of Carboy’s tools and equipment. That doesn’t even include the cars, that’s a whole other thing. A lot of our shelving was Ikea stuff and though you can make Ikea furniture look great, it’s not meant to be taken apart, moved, and reassembled really. So all that stuff stayed. Most of the furniture that we bought specifically for staging stayed. The hot tub was given away. Ballet barre, given away.

So why did I say take all your stuff with you? Moving under normal circumstances is a stressful, crazy endeavor but moving during pandemic… oi! One of the big issues that one might not always think about is the availability of things, all kinds of things. The pandemic has changed the way we can get things like furniture, paint, building supplies, all manner of things one needs when one moves into a new home. Had I realized how serious it was and it is serious, I’d have brought EVERYTHING. EVERY-THANG. It would have cost (even) more to move it all but at least I would have stuff. When the shelves of Ikea are empty, dude, it’s bad.

So as I said, my ballet barre, well, I gave it away. If you remember my post on building a ballet barre, it was just made of plumbing materials so it wasn’t expensive and didn’t make sense at the time to take it apart and pay to have it carted all the way to North Carolina. It actually was a bit of a challenge to find all the plumbing materials that I wanted but we managed and now I have a new barre. I just looked up my old post! And here it is…