Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013 @ 8:15 am
I went back to ballet last night. I thought about it a lot over the last week and prepared myself and rationed that it could only get better. I'd practiced in front of the mirror down in our gym one night - a rare night with the studio to myself. One hand on the wall, watching the point of my toe and alignment of my leg thru each fondu and rond de jambe. Lying on my back for half an hour each night, knees splayed, trying desperately to improve my turnout.
I sat on the couch waiting for my class to start. Some of the same girls as before. A new girl, in full leotard with tights, a pair of shiny satin pointe shoes dangling from her wrist.
But then I see the teacher - motherly, full in figure, with a mass of wild curls surrounding a compassionate face. This, I think, this is going to be much better.
She comes around to collect our class bracelets, and as I'm passing mine to her I blurt I have very little experience in this. And she pauses and winks and says that she was just about to ask that question. She asks who has less than one year of experience. A smattering of hands in the air. One to three? More hands. More than three? Half the class. Wait a minute here - I didn't mean that I was novice, that you should forgive my little mistakes. I meant that I was green as an slippery newborn and that I don't even know my ABC's. Never mind, at least I've warned her.
But you know what? It wasn't that bad. I focussed on my posture and positioning, not worrying about my extension or keeping up precisely with the rest. I realized that I can harness the strength of my legs, and that I have good balance, and while my grace and technique need work that I do have the potential to do this.
Near the end of the class the instructor stood in front of me and watched me rise into the arabesque. She told us to take our hands off the barre. Again, my extension is poor but my stability is excellent. She looks at me and says, You know more than you think you know. And I have to contain myself from breaking out in laughter, but in reality my insides are bursting with happiness.
One thing that I am sure of about myself is that I am an excellent student. I listen, watch, mimic. I research and study the mechanics to understand a theory. If there's one thing that I know for my future is that I never want to stop learning because it's in these moments that I feel unequivocally alive.