So I guess it’s time I told you guys that 3 weeks ago I started doing ballet classes. Yes, adult beginner ballet.
When I decided to try ballet it was for a bunch of reasons. Exercise, to try something new – challenge myself, you know? – to gain some poise and grace. But have no illusions, friends, starting ballet does nothing for a beginner but make you feel at best clumsy and at worst ridiculous. Strike that, reverse it, at least ridiculous is funny. Clumsy is just awkward.
I should have known really, based on when I first bought the ballet outfit. Yes, for beginner ballet you must wear a leotard, tights and ballet slippers. I’d be lying if I said that in fact wasn’t a little bit of the appeal. When I got my ensemble home and tried it on I felt immediately more graceful, all that tight lycra sucking in all my bumps and lumps. It wasn’t unlike the first time I wore Skins. But then I looked at myself in the mirror and that was completely unlike the first time I wore Skins, which actually do make you look pretty good. It turns out that pale pink ballet tights and flats with a leotard make me look like a pudgy 5-year-old girl. And I guess that is basically the ballet experience in a nutshell.
That first lesson kind of went like this: “Ok class, to begin feet – first position, second position, fourth and fifth. Now arms, first, second, third, fifth. This is a plié, demi plié. Rond de jambe. To the front, side, derrier. Point de this, point de that, combination, combination, port de bras, five, six, seven, eight.” 90 minutes later and FIN and me thinking what the fuck just happened?
Subsequent lessons seemed to go a little slower and I could follow the combinations slightly better. Though I still don't know my tendu from my fondu. I also learned to appreciate the fact that all the music is just piano versions of pop and musical songs. Feel free to picture me jumping around to the theme from the Muppets and calling it ballet, because that is an actual thing that happens. And when a slow piano rendition of “Don’t you want me baby?” started playing I really started to feel like I was in A Chorus Line* and I just keep thinking how great it would be to practice pliés to “One” one day.
Finally of course every time my arms are in second position I get to thing about Partick Swayze telling Baby off for her spaghetti arms.
So do I even need to tell you that I I love ballet?!
*I know that song isn't from A Chorus Line, it's just the vibe of it.