SWORDFERN
Rooted, I used to think.

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Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013 @ 10:11 am
Ballet



So, I marched off to my dance class last night, feeling pretty sure of myself. A little stretching, a little jumping, you know, just a beginner ballet class.

Well, yeah. Different girls at this class, and they're all stretching and flexing to warm up. Most of them have proper pink ballet slippers. I stand at the barre in bare feet with my arms crossed. The instructor comes out and introduces himself as a professional dancer. He stands with his feet folded in front of him as if they are unhinged from his hips.

There is a sweet looking girl beside me at the barre. I make eye contact and say I have no idea what I'm doing. She asks Is this your first ballet class? I nod and her eyes grow cartoon wide, and at that moment the instructor clears his throat.

He says, well, let's just do a little warm up. He stands at the barre and does this complicated pattern of toe points and deep knee bends, calling out a pile of French words that my Canadian-school-system brain is attempting to translate. The girls follow along, apparently memorizing the pattern. And then he puts on the music and we begin.

I don't know where to put my arms. The girls are doing all of these graceful arm movements and adding in little dips and stuff that I'm going to call grace notes because my knowledge of music far exceeds my knowledge of dance.

At one point, I see the instructor look at me. My insides liquefy. I'm drenched in nervous sweat, trying to keep up with all of the toe pointing, and then he starts to make his way towards me.

Fuckfuckfuckfuck. I straighten my back and try to keep my leg straight, but that lowers it back to nearly vertical because my hamstrings are taught like a violin. I'm crying on the inside and want to run out of that damn mirrored studio and keep on running for an hour just to show the world that I can do something right.

He is calling out the French words and the girls are all doing the moves, and he's looking at me intently. He starts to say something. Stops. Looks at me. Straighten your legs. FUCK. I adjust myself and he seems to appreciate the difference and dances away back to the front of the room.

And then I remember reading something. If the instructor doesn't correct you, then you are not worth correcting. And I am heartened.

I walk home through the fog and fallen leaves. I think about the last hour, what it means to me to have jumped head first into something that I've always wanted to try. That there is no reward without risk.

That I have to be generous with myself.


Roots | Shoots