Ever been to an informal get-together of dancers and seen anyone sitting on chairs, fixed at their table placing, for the entire time? Nope, didn't think so. Dancers tend to migrate to the floor, always stretching and limbering up their bodies. And if we're not limbering up our bodies, we are dancing. Relevés while getting the plates out of the cupboard, penché arabesques when picking up something from the floor. Heck, pirouettes whenever there's enough space. I've done mine in the kitchen..
In the company of fellow dancers, nobody thinks anything of it. It is perfectly acceptable and normal behavior. Seriously, it's hardly a wonder that the body stays in dancer-mode 24/7. That is what practice is all about, to make the physics of dance an integral part of your system. Once you have converted your body to ballet, it seeks every opportunity to move in its now natural state! A dancer is a dancer, outside of class and out of leos and tights, and even between dances. As for myself, I'm no pro, far from it, but I cannot help but feel my ballet body take over!
Sadly, out of class there are not that many opportunities. No piqué turns in office corridors, no checking out lines in every mirror, no grand jetés in the park, no waltzing to the bus-stop. Ballet is life, but life is not a ballet. Or is it? Last Thursday, after another fun & challenging ballet class, my ballet sis spontaneously suggested that we head for a post-ballet drink. Despite it being a work-night, I could refuse neither the good company nor the chilled bubbly. It was a lovely evening, warm enough to sit outside and relax into girl-talk and ballet-chat. Perfect, except for the sitting-in-place. Because when we got up to leave, we were both all stiff and sore. Pretty sure this is not the norm with non-dancers..?
|Someone fixed that barre all wrong!|
Must have been the bubbly (Spanish cava), but it got me into thinking about a bar for dancers only. You know of après-ski, the hot chocolate and sitting by the fire, relaxing? I would like to propose a similar space where tired dancers can spread out on a cushioned floor, stretching with refreshing drinks in hand. Protein-enriched banana smoothies or sparkly bubbly, whatever works for you. And as for the actual bar, remember the railing where you can put your feet? Lift the whole thing up, and presto: you have the barre at the bar. Mirrors optional.
But why stop there? Lets add a jacuzzi and sauna, plus epsom-salt foot-baths and free massages! Come to think of it, and leaving the bar out of it (just for a second) - why are dance studios not more like fancy gyms? Dance classes cost more, spaces are essentially the same (except for the dance-flooring), and showers are there already. Yet in Finland, where saunas are everywhere, not a single dance-studio has one. Except for the National Opera House. They heat their sauna every day. Lucky dancers, but I think they deserve it.
But back to The Bar/re. It's a funny and fitting coincidence, that our building used to host one of the more popular (and later, infamous) night clubs in Helsinki. Many, many years ago I stood at that bar, drink in hand, two floors under our current barre-filled studio space. That club is long since gone, but others have come since. One time last spring we left after our evening Friday class, just in time for the opening of an new club. The red carpet had been rolled out, rose petals were strewn and hunky doormen were giving us way. After our reverance to Swan Lake´s music, it only seemed appropriate. Darlings, I'll have champagne with that..