sputnikhearts: female ballet student at the barre (tendu)
Kara Lee ([personal profile] sputnikhearts) wrote2017-06-26 02:49 pm
Entry tags:

Ballet Shoes

Ballet shoes

Probably the biggest new happiness multiplier in recent memory: I (re)started taking ballet at local studio. Although I am a complete beginner, I grew up on a steady diet of ballet books at varying qualities. I don't remember when I first saw the photos but I remember being completely entranced by the unparalleled beauty of the form. Lessons were not possible, so I read books, which is always the next best thing. I read all the Noel Streatfeild books, random teen serials where no book is complete without someone bursting into tears mid-dress rehearsal, and of course I read Jill Krementz's "A Very Young Dancer" so many times that it's burned into my mind. I also read all kinds of books about technique, and pored over photographs of classical ballets. Thanks, well-stocked childhood library!

One of the really flattering things that a teacher said at my very first lesson was "I can't believe you've never taken ballet before." And no matter how failhard I am at every lesson, I definitely laid up that comment to live by whenever I feel discouraged (the adagios in center practice, they slay me). And I do fail pretty hard, even for a beginner. My hips are stiff, I can barely follow simple choreography, and my placement is a mess. But I flatter myself that I have been mentally dancing for a very long time. So even when my feet are not right, I do know exactly what I am supposed to have done, and that sometimes--somehow--just a bit--shines through the mess of bad posture and worse turnout.

The other thing I love about ballet is that ... I am a fairly competitive and perfectionist person in most areas of my life, but dancing shuts down that part of my brain. That makes it freeing and meditative--I suspect that ballet is to me as yoga is to a lot of people. If my steps are not perfect, that's just my version of it and it's as valid as anyone else's, and I am shockingly content with that.

Which is the complete opposite of how I feel about writing! I submit my stories for publication, and I love it when people read and hopefully enjoy my stories. Part of me feels that a story is not real until it is shared--that it's just a hallucination in my brain until someone else confirms that they heard those voices too.

In ballet, I do not feel that way. I am overjoyed just to be in the studio. I could do endless tendus alone save for the accompanying music on my phone. I feel absolutely no need to be on a stage.

I wonder if I would be a better writer, if I also felt that way about my writing?

Anyway, this was a rambling post. If you want to read a serious post about taking ballet as an adult, I wholeheartedly recommend the excellent essay "Swan, Late: The unexpected joys of adult beginner ballet."
illariy: uhura smiles (uhura: smile)

[personal profile] illariy 2017-06-26 07:55 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh, this is such a joyful post. It was a delight to read. Yay! I also took ballet as an adult after a steady diet of ballet novels in my teens. Hehe. But I quit after the introductory course because I was already having trouble memorising the step sequences and because it was too expensive. I'm very glad you're having such fun with it.
yhlee: (SKU: Anthy/Utena (credit: sher))

[personal profile] yhlee 2017-06-27 05:02 pm (UTC)(link)
I'm glad that you're finding joy in adult ballet! I was forced to do it as a small child and had no talent or heart for it, although I still love to watch; but I discovered joy in social/ballroom dancing after years of being convinced that I was too much of a klutz to ever dance. Yay dancing!

And that essay is wonderful--thank you so much for linking to it.