I spent a good deal of my teens and my early twenties in white tights and a leotard and despite the full length mirrors and boob affliction (I was a DD by the time I hit 15 and had to wear 2 bras to get through a dance class), I loved every minute of it. I was never going to be a prima ballerina, I was much better at tap and modern, but I loved and still love ballet. It makes me feel stronger, more graceful and like I can do anything.
When I decided to go back as an adult I did a little bit of prep at home to make sure I still had the skills (if not the flexibility and strength) to perform in an intermediate level class. At the ripe old age of 31, I feel like I’ve done my time and no longer need to torture myself with the oh so unforgiving traditional ballet get up. And so I turned up at The Central School of Ballet in my blue joggers and husbands red t’shirt (kind of like Super Woman’s flabby older cousin). To say that the instructor looked skeptical as I walked in was an understatement. I’d already been questioned thoroughly by the po faced dude on reception about the sanity of going for the “general” vs “absolute beginner” session. He let me go with a kind of “on your head be it” look…
You know what though, instead of feeling like I didn’t belong, it was like coming home. I don’t need the approval of an instructor any more, I’m never going to be a performer, I’m doing it because I love it. With that in mind, it was really lovely to run around the room again and challenge myself to improve with every step.
I’ve only been back a few times since as work often interferes but every time I enter that room I forget to care about what my body looks like and marvel at what it can still do. Sure, my legs don’t lift as high any more and my turn out isn’t as flat as it used to be but there’s something about walking into a room full of bars and even the mirrors that makes you feel like the entire cast of Fame.
Let’s face it, the hippo doesn’t look self conscious so why should I be!
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