"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

Friday, March 22, 2013

Need to dance...

Photo: Dance Academy

"I don't want dancers who want to dance,
I want dancers who need to dance."
- George Balanchine

In the ten years before I became a mother, I attended ballet class every day. I danced through each of my four pregnancies, right up until the day(s) I went into labor. Sadly but expectantly, as each new baby came my time at the barre dwindled. And when my children began to have social lives of their own, times three (play dates, sports, homework, school functions, etc.) my time at the barre became seasonal (roughly May to September). And even then my time at the barre was...complicated by the fact that my roundtrip commute takes an hour. Add a 1:15 long dance class and a few extra minutes before and after that's a dedicated three hours.  So I wound up missing many classes because my career and mommy schedule(s) just didn't have that large enough chunk of time to spare - sigh.

Photo: Dany & Mimi

This last time I was stubborn, I regularly attended classes until November but it was such a struggle. As Christmas approached I began to think that I would have to finally just give it up until the kids were older. But after four months of no ballet (BOO!) and the resulting aches and flab that inevitably follow (EEK!) I knew that I could not give up ballet; I refused to give up ballet.

There's a tiny ballet academy next door to my butcher. All through this winter season, every time I stopped by Johnny G's for a pound of hamburger and a few chicken breasts, I would pause to look into the darkened windows of the ballet studio on my way to my car. Last year I called and asked if they had adult classical ballet classes - the young lady on the other end of the line said no :{ But yesterday, I decided that I would not take no for an answer. Yeah you know me - Ha! I called the ballet studio. My grand master plan was to ask (beg if I had to) one of the instructors to give me private lessons - and I was not going to take no for an answer. Turns out, I didn't have to...

"Leg Warmers" Harvey Edwards

Tressa (the ballet academy's owner and director) answered the phone. I told her my predicament and my proficiency level; she told me not to worry she has a Temple-level ballet class three days a week (yeah, you know that I'm going to try to get her to add another one or two). Better yet, her ballet schedule in no way conflicts with my mamma or writing schedule(s) - Yippee! 

There's only one thing that makes me nervous. Only one of the three classes is adult. The other two are for teenaged dancers - uh oh! When I began dancing at the ripe old age of 25, for the first two years I took class with a bunch of 12 and 13 year olds and I didn't give a flying hooey - I wanted to dance, needed to dance. But 44 is around the corner (19 years later), I have not stepped up to the barre in four months, and I know that I have not been challenged like a teenager at the barre for at least half that time. What if I can't keep up? Do I really want to expose my flabby four-baby belly and thighs in tights no less in front of a bunch of nubile teenagers? - cue the panic!

Photo: Vogue

In the end I just don't care. I don't want ballet, I need ballet. And if I have to jiggle and stumble amid a bevy of teenagers 'til I get my booty into shape then that's the price I've oh so willing to pay (wince). And I am SO happy and relieved to have finally figured out a way to enjoy my ballet addiction guilt free from trying to fit Temple time into my mommy and writing schedules - having my cake and eating it too is simply tasty. But once I get my booty in shape and into gear, watch out youngins! I may not ever again be able to kick as high or twirl as fast as you can, but I've got diva elegance, grace and fantabulosity that only maturity can convey. The new session begins 2 April and I can't wait.

Be whole. Be joyful. Dance.


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