On Wednesday I finally went to my first ballet class in five years. Even though it had been a while, the movement quickly made its way back into my muscle memory (although they were a bit out of touch, strength-wise). I had missed doing ballet over these years, so it was nice to get back into it, if even just for one class.
Ballet is probably one of my favourite dance styles, both to watch and to perform, along with contemporary. It has an elegant poise to it that seems harder to come by these days, and my time dancing ballet always felt special, even if I was just okay at it. Not to mention the costumes are always a grand ol’ time. Tutus and frills and sparkles – this kind of girl’s dream – pretty, pretty, pretty.
It’s crazy to think how old of a dance ballet is, and that it still exists today in much of the same way. Well, some things have changed, no doubt for the better. I remember my ballet teacher once telling me that in its early days, the stage used to tilted, with the back of the stage higher than the front. This was so the audience could see everything that was going on onstage, as it was the seating area that was flat. This is in fact where the terms downstage and upstage come from – there literally was a down and up to stages! Nowadays, as we know, it’s the theatre seating that is tilted rather than the stage, which makes a whole lot more sense – can you imagine doing pointe on a slanted floor? Talk about tricky!
I believe it was the court of Louis XIV of France, a great supporter of the art, who required that all his courtesans and servants learn ballet, so that they could serve him with grace and poise. Be elegant or get out. I’d sign up to be a servant just to get the ballet lessons! Ha.
But really, it was wonderful getting back to my roots. I wish I had started at a younger age (well, technically I did, but I quit, so then I guess I wish I hadn’t quit, only to pick it up again in high school). It would have been great to say I’ve been a ballerina all my life. But the fact that I can start doing it again, now that I have more time with my life, is really nice. I’ll definitely have to try and take advantage of that. In a way, you’ll never feel prettier or more graceful than when you’re doing ballet.
My leg muscles are killing me now though. They definitely were not used to all that flexing and stretching and holding. It’s a wonder I used to do three classes a week. The tops of my feet and my knees are super bony and bruise really easily. I used to just have constant bruising on my knees and the tops of my feet from rolling around on the ground (that was more so from my contemporary classes, but ballet a little too). Sure enough, I woke up this morning with a big ol’ bruise on my right foot. Well hey, at least it means I’m trying.
We’ll see where things go from here! It’s a wonder what life will throw at you from time to time.