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!