Wednesday's in 2020 have me doing something different, not entirely new but entirely new to me as an adult. I have started taking adult beginning ballet classes. I have thought about returning to the bar for more than 25 years. I started ballet at age 5 with Anne Gordon Dance Studio on Pemberton, here in North Vancouver. I did not stick with ballet, largely due to family finances and the fact that my parents had so many young kids it was hard to get me there. In high school, when I could I took Dance instead of PE, I am not at all nimble, nor sporty and it was the lesser of two evils. While I was not good at the dancing part I really loved the repetitive movements and stretches that ballet brings. I have not danced sine the mid 1990's...
I have made many changes in my life in the last year, most are motivated, I am sorry to say, by fear. Healthy Fear I call it. I have in the last ten years lost both my parents and my brother. My mother was 56, my brother in his early 30's and my father, last March at age 65. I celebrated my 44th birthday in April and weather I like to admit it or not, the fear that I may only have a short time left to live my life or the fear of the un known has motivated me to get myself together for better or worse.
So this is me, in my tea shop after work before my first class, I put on my ballet suit, (the largest the store sold) pink tights, black wrap around skirt and new soft pink ballet shoes, I pulled my shoulder length hair back into a bun, set my phone camera timer and posed for my "I can do it!" moment.
In November my sons Foods teacher, whom I knew from High School, came into the shop and we began talking about her dance recital, and when she left I looked up the school and emailed about starting in January. When I got the email about class starting I had a pang of worry, mixed in with excitement, I made a special stop at our local dance shop and purchased the items needed, relieved that they had something to fit me, even though I had my heart set on a pink leotard, black was the only one in my size. When I arrived at the address of the school, memories came back to me, as I climbed the stairs to the studio, I remembered that this studio One Dance, was actually the studio I started at when I was 5! I remembered there used to be a bakery below and my mother would wait at the bottom of the stairs of the school with my brother in his stroller. It even smelled the same. I arrived and checked in, the young girl behind the desk was putting together a display of the School Jogging suits sets and I caught up in the nostalgia and moment, bought myself a set. My teacher was a man who is the same age and we exchanged pleasantries as we waited to enter the studio, I was nervous, and began to get very self conscious, my two other classmates looked way better in shape and much thinner than I am. Once we started the pleasantries we exchanged in the waiting area, disappeared and a very strict and well trained dance teacher emerged from the very nice man I had talked with in the lobby. It was clear that he meant business and if he was going to give 100% then I should too. Twisting my body into shapes it has never made proved harder than I had expected. I have never been able to touch my toes but found myself actually wishing I could. When the teacher told us to have our heads up I thought mine was, It apparently wasn't and the teacher came to correct me, using my go to self deprecating humor I said " I am short, my neck is short" he said nonsense. "You and I have the same vertebrae " and at that moment I swear my neck grew. I pushed myself and my unwilling body through the different positions, I learned and heard from muscles I had not used or who had been altered following three c-sections that they were not planing on co-operating. I could not help but laugh at myself, I found I was having so much fun and kept pushing my uncoordinated self. When the class was over, I was relieved but excited and truly looking forward to my next class.
In away it felt good to "come home" even if I was stumbling and not dancing and I cant wait for my next class, followed by Advil, a long soak in some Epsom salts and a large cup of tea. What I currently lack in graceful dance skills I more than make up for in enthusiasm and tea....
Thank you for joining this tired new/old ballerina for a cup of tea and encouragement.
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