"Those who have experienced Paris have advantage over those who have not. We are the ones who have glimpsed a little bit of heaven, down here on earth." - Deirdre Kelly

Monday, June 11, 2012


Alicia Graf Mack - Alvin Ailey Dance
Photo: Andrew Eccles

"You don't have to know about ballet to enjoy it,
all you have to do is look at it!"
- Edwin Denby

Two weeks ago I finally returned to ballet class - after a nearly 3 year hiatus. After my first class, I could barely move - ha! Two weeks later, I'm still a member of the walking wounded. Nevertheless...

I'm pointing my toes 'through the floor' - though they cramp; my plie is satisfyingly deep - though my knees creak and pop; it feels wonderful to 'pull up' and 'turn out' - though my persistent baby-belly hangs and my hip bones twinge; I revel in adagio - though my arabesque's extended leg isn't as high as it used to be; I experience unadulterated joy in my changements, in petit allegro, - though my ankles ache and I can't quite push my feet 'through the floor'; and, in reverance, I still feel like a Prima Ballerina as I take my final bow; and I'm hurting before I leave the dancer's dressing room, stiff-legged, as I make my way to my car.

But I am triumphant. I made it through another class. And with every class: it takes longer for my feet to cramp, my knees creak and pop less, my four-baby-belly is smaller (if only to my eyes and ego), I'm able to battement (lift my legs) a little higher, my ankles ache less and I 'feel the floor' (more and more), as of this Friday, I didn't stiffen up until the next day.

I know that the road back to being a ballerina is going to be long, painful, and challenging. I also know that dancing in my 40s (and beyond) will be completely different than dancing in my 20s and 30s - but that's okay. I've earned these new aches and pains; I'm proud of them ;-} I will work my way through, under, and over them - and I SO look forward to the adventure!

In the meantime, when I'm struggling through my next class, I'm going to tell myself that I look like Ms. Mack. Makes sense 'cause that's how I feel - just sayin'! Be joyful, be whole - DANCE!

Vivre! Rire! Aimer!



  1. Temple! I"m so glad to hear you are back at ballet! I didn't realize so much time had passed. Life gets busy. Your words are inspirational.

  2. Oh Denise,

    It is so good to be back at ballet! Sue and the ladies say hi. As always, there's a spot saved for you at the barre, right next to mine! I miss good friend...




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