Photo: The Ballet Bag
"Dance for yourself.
If someone understands, good.
If not, no matter.
Go right on doing what you love."
- Lois Hurst
I was going to write and post this entry on Wednesday, but my fingers literally ached too much to type! In my last A Danser post I blogged about trying to juggle Mamma-hood and my burgeoning career while feeding my soul's insatiable need for ballet, finally finding a local ballet school - and my determination to dance...just dance. Wednesday afternoon I attended my first ballet class at my new school - Mohler Dance Academy. In three words, my teacher - Tressa - kicked my ass! Each and every single muscle in my body aches, my hair hurts - I feel AMAZING!
stupidly honest with Tressa. I told her of my 20 years of ballet experience and what I wanted to regain as much as possible: my core (damned four-baby belly!), my flexibility and center floor balance. There was only one other student - Heidi - who's been dancing longer than I. Thus, since she didn't have to worry about beginners or intermediates, Tressa gave us a master class: the highest level, fast, precise, difficult, merciless - yeah I'm groaning (then and now) but you know I loved every second. Another layer of challenge was that the class (all choreography instruction) was in French. As I sweated, grunted and grimaced through class I realized that I have not seriously danced since after the birth of my first child ten years ago (EEK!) - no regrets, just truth (sigh).
Photo: Baryshnikov Arts Center
But I...did it - Every pile, tendu, frappe, rond de jame en l'air un releve, battement, changement, chasse and pirouette - not perfectly by far (LOTS of room for improvement) and my poor poochy belly was trembling and threatening to rebel well before the end of class. But I did it, made it to the end without passing out (though there were copious amounts of sweat leaking from every pore and unladylike gulping of bottled water through out) - yay! The experience was glorious and I'm proud to report that I wasn't limping 'til much later - Ha!
After class Tressa told me that I should take the Monday and Friday night classes as well. To which I replied: "Whaaa??!!" You see, that's her master class for 12+ year olds. To which I first replied: "No fucking way!" (please excuse the profanity but, believe me, it was totally warranted). Don't get me wrong, I have no problem grunting and sweating my way through class with fellow old ladies, but with nubile teenagers 30+ years younger than I? Yeeessh! Tressa assured me that I will be able to keep up, to just give myself a try. I was so shocked and pleased that she thinks I'm good enough. In for a penny...I said yes (gulp).
rue de la Motte Picquet
As I was driving home a memory popped into my head. During my last trip to Paris, one afternoon at the start of our usual walk back to the apartment from our favorite local spot - Pain et Chocolat (see: here and here) - the shop next door's front door was open. I looked in and saw a large room with a gorgeous hardwood floor, ringed on four sides with floor-to-ceiling mirrors and a ballet barre! I looked up and saw/noticed for the first time the shop's name: Studio Maubourg, an adult dance studio that offers classical ballet classes. I stepped in and met the proprietress and head teacher - Sophie. Between my broken French and her excellent English, we chatted about everything ballet - heaven. Yes, I was intrigued and inspired - to add a ballet class (or 5 to infinity) in Paris to my bucket list. What ballerina would not have such a desire? As I pulled into my garage, I added another item to my ballet-to-do-list: to become proficient enough to attend as many ballet classes as possible at Studio Maubourg on my next (and every) visit to Paris. So yes, I'm going to tonight's Mohler ballet master class for 12+ year olds; and the one on Monday too. I'm going to stand in the farthermost corner, bring a larger bottle of water, breathe and...do this.
I have not been so challenged since I started dancing 20 years ago. This feels like a new beginning. Getting my ass kicked ballet style can only a good thing for it feeds my body (literally) and soul (artistic and mundane). And I know that, while I'm struggling and hurting now, there's only one direction for me to go - up. So yes, I'm going to tonights' teenage-master-class, Monday's and from here on out. I'll keep you updated. In the meantime: be whole, be joyful, dance.
Vivre! Rire! Aimer!