August 31, 2012

Dancing Along My Trail


You know the old adage about ballet being hard - but I can tell you it's even harder to go without. Staying at home, watching the clock, knowing there's a ballet class about to start that should have my name on it. Which is why I leave the house at the same time, and take refuge on my favorite trail by the shore. At first, my body still feels the rhythm of class, the tendus and pliés like a missing limb. I walk fast and let the sea breeze clear my head. I let the waves wash over fondues and battements, over barre and center. Before I'm half-way, I'm no longer miserable. There's a whole world outside of class, and it has the power to lift my spirits just as much as dance does. As long as I let go - for the time being.



I know I could eventually adapt to a life without dancing. Hey, I never danced for the first 21 years of my life - and those were some good times! Ballet is not my reason for living, and it is not my sole joie de vivre. There are more layers to me than tights and ballet skirts. Having said that, let me tell you this: I'm not going to give up dancing - ever. I can adjust to less class time. It just makes the anticipation for the remaining hours that much sweeter. Almost like waiting for Christmas, week after week. I can accept, albeit grudgingly, that there's going to be a (temporary) setback in my progress. I can live with stiffer muscles and less bounce in my jumps. It's not the best case scenario, but we don't always get what we want.


This has been my first week with seriously less dance. You might wonder why it's such a big deal to me, but the thing is I don't know how temporary this arrangement is. Do I get my old dancing life back next month or next year? But I've done okay. Jogging along my trail, I've let my mind wander freely - something you can't do in class! Funny though, more often than not, my head's been occupied with all things dance. I might think about a correction I got last time - how I should never mark with my hands when doing a pirouette on pointe. Must turn full out, in the correct position. Or I might savour the cool praise I got some weeks ago, about being "powerful". Or how awesome it would be to finally nail a clean triple turn, right in front of Madame... You can take the dancer out of class, but you can't take the class out of the dancer!

This evening it's class time again - and I'm already buzzed about it!

It's a barre - what else are you supposed to do with it?

10 comments:

  1. I have missed this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5EVMjnHFg-w&feature=related completely. Have a rehearsal together with Royal Ballet (a real budget ballet class...) :) I just watched and was exhausted (and thrilled).

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    1. Yeah! I have watched this class four times already - love it! It's so cool to see professional dancers doing daily class, working at their technique, getting corrections and dancing full out. Awesome.

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  2. Thanks for sharing your feelings Johanna! Having a similar situation, I understand you perfectly and feel exactly the same. The best thing about not being able to dance is finding out there's a lot of other things you can do instead. But the longing for a class still sometimes feels somewhat unbearable, and indeed the worst thing is when you don't know when the situation will change. Hope you'll be able to get back to your normal dancing schedule soon!

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    1. Yes, there's lots to do/learn/experience outside of dance - but nothing can quite replace dancing. Once you're hooked, that's really it :) I know that a career in dance is very hard, but I hope those pros all know how lucky they are!

      Kirsi, I wish you get to have the classes you need/want soonest possible!
      As for me, things might possibly be looking up, if only temporarily. I will blog about further developments..

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  3. Thanks for sharing this! I'm in a similar situation. Last year I was dancing 3 days a week. This year I'm a full time university student again (was part time for a few years) in a new city, living on a budget that doesn't allow for a steady class at all. Not even one. Drop-ins some time? Maybe.

    I love that last photo. I find myself judging every bar I see in regards to whether or not it's a suitable height to be used for barre. The guard rails in the locker hallways at my university are...

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    1. Hi Jenna!

      That one's a nother familiar situation, from way back. There are times when we have to prioritise because it's the smart thing to do. Doesn't make it any easier though. At least your education is an investment in the future, and hopefully to well-paid jobs that allow you to dance again!

      Does your university offer any dance classes at all? My old uni has since added a few adult ballet courses, which cost almost next to nothing. Shame I'm no longer a student.. Jenna, take as many drop-ins as you can, and stay otherwise fit. Studying tends to be so time-sonsuming, you almost won't notice going without dance. Almost. Damn, I really feel for you!

      About that last photo - yeah, I'm with you. Every railing I pass gets a once-over. This one was too high for support, but great for stretching. Also the railing at my indoor bus terminal would be perfect, especially after class when I'm waiting for my bus. Shame there's an audience. ;)

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    2. There is a swing dance club running on campus, so I'll likely investigate that, but of course it isn't ballet. Fitness, musicality and fun? Check. Ballet technique and pointe work? Nope. *sigh* I have seen far more dance studios around here than I know of back home, though, so drop-ins should be possible.

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    3. It's not the same, but I bet your swing dancing will look better because of your ballet training! Just imagine you're a ballet dancer on vacation, bringing a bit of extra glamour into the club ;)

      Have you done any floor barre classes? Once you know the exercises, you can do them at home, and it will help maintain your form. I usually do some developpé and turnout exercises. Of course, it's not ballet class - but it's something.

      Best of luck with those drop-ins, and keep me posted!

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  4. Lovely post and pictures Johanna.
    Love Nasia

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    1. Thanks, Nasia! It was a great day for photos :)

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