This past week marked my return to ballet in more than 30 years. As a child, I loved ballet although I only took it for about four years. I remember loving my ballet slippers….eagerly eyeing the the box of rosin that girls who moved up to pointe shoes would use to ready their footwear, hoping one day I would get to do that too. I recall the smell of the class, watching myself dance in the mirror and the beautiful music played by our accompanying pianist. And I will never forget my beautiful teacher. I wanted to be just like her. She was always smiling and very encouraging…a far cry from my very first ballet teacher who was, shall we say, rather evil!
For many reasons my dancing came to an abrupt stop, and it saddened me. So some 30 years later, as I await celebration of my 40th birthday this year, I have returned to the wooden floors to reconnect with what I loved to do once upon a time. My first class this week was both thrilling and incredibly painful. In fact two days later, my hamstrings feel like big balls of knots! To mark the beginning of this new phase for me, my dear friend Karen bought me this t-shirt that says “Ballerine Rockstar”. It was a total surprise receiving it in the mail, and I was so touched by her thoughtfulness. Naturally, I thought it was most appropriate to wear it to my first class.
There are 15 other women in my class, many of whom are in and around my age group. I wonder what their stories are? Why are they taking this class? Hopefully throughout the next few months I will get to know that.
Getting back to the actual class, there are many things that are different between my childhood classes and the present. The pianist has been replaced by a boom box, my mature and poised teacher that I looked up to is now a set of two, very young (but very sweet and eager) instructors who look more like they should be my daughters. Pink leotards and tights are now yoga or sweat pants. And I can speak for myself when I say that my fresh, enthusiastic face of 9 years of age is now replaced with a tired, red-eyed yawn from a long day of running a business and a household with three young kids. But it’s all good. If you had asked me even a couple of years ago about whether I would have taken a ballet class, the answer would have been, “Hell, no!” For some reason I am ready now….and even moreso I am excited about the whole darn thing. I don’t know where it will take me, if I’ll get quickly bored with it once the novelty wears off, or if I’ll injure myself to the point of needing long periods of recoup time (did I say my legs are killing me???). All I know is that I need to do this, right now. For the timebeing, I am a Ballerina Rockstar.