March 24, 2011

Dancing Down Memory Lane, part 2

Last night I was rummaging through my closet, looking for something else entirely, when I rediscovered a stack of my old journals - from way back when there was no twitter, no facebook, no internet even. In those days I actually put my writing on paper, and shared with no-one. How things have changed since.. Anyway, I found my first dance-entry! This was not written after my first class, but approximately 1,5 years later: 

"I have finally found myself a hobby that excites me every time - dancing!  I would never have believed this a couple of years ago, that I would be taking dance lessons 6 times a week, and often 2 classes a day! (...) I'm not all that flexible, but I have already improved. Can developpé my left leg to 90 degrees. (...) The teacher is terrific, she gives corrections hands-on and sometimes there is even praise. (...) My class level is now advanced-beginner, but on Saturdays I have permission to attend the intermediate class - so exciting! I feel that dancing has become my lifestyle.."

It makes me smile to look back at my much younger self and see that she hasn't changed all that much! Mind you, I'm actually quite flexible now and developpés are a lot higher too. ;) Hey, it's been thousands classes since! Lots and lots of work and stretching. But I had forgotten how quickly dance took my live over - or was it the other way round? And I can't believe I trained 6 times a week! But I do remember my first ballet class ever. A friend had wanted to take dance classes and asked me along as moral support. I remember the pieces falling into place right there and then. Of course I would join her! Why had I not figured this out earlier? Dancing just seemed so right. And I was not wrong..  

To be continued..


  1. Love, love, love this post. You revisited where I am, now. Did you relive that when you went on pointe? I can't wait to read part two. Thank you for sharing.

    I hope you had fun reading the non-dance stuff too - sometimes the blast from the past can be hilarious (as in I can't believe I worried about that stuff) or depressing (as in I can't believe I didn't achieve that yet or that isn't part of my life anymore)

  2. Hi Kim! Thanks so much :) I´m thrilled you could relate - it just goes to show how alike we dancers are!

    The part about things falling into place.. happens every time I take class. You just are never done. If you ever feel like that it´s time to stop! :)

    Actually, I´m even more excited now. Pointe is such new territory, and scary fun. But even I can see that I´m learning and that is the best thing. And for the past 2 years, I´ve had the best 2 teachers ever - it has made such a difference to my dancing.

    The non-dance stuff.. how right you are.. embarrassing in parts, kinda sad in others. You can´t really plan live the way you think you can. But it has turned out okay :)

  3. I love this post too! Have been reading your blog for quite a while now, but this is actually the first time commenting..

    I started taking ballet a year ago and it was love at first sight. I'm a person who loves challenges (they keep me motivated) and the concentration a regular class requires is just amazing.. I cant's even remember what I was stressed about before class (euphoria)! Dance has been part of my life for a long time, but my experience is mainly in streetdance genres.

    I'm 26 yrs old and my body is sloooowly becoming more flexible and strong. I have naturally really tight hamstrings and inner thighs (and also hyperextended knees!?) and have stretched really hard to get where I am today. But sadly, there's a long and rocky road between me and beautiful side splits, splits, heel in hand etc. As I'm determined to stick with ballet, I wonder if you could do a post on tips and tricks which have helped you? Different stretches, strenghtening exercises etc. This would be really helpful!

    Another thing I've been wondering about is progress (and yes, I know that it's individual).. I got curious when reading about your 90 degree developpe´ (This is where I am at a good day :D), how did your developpe´s progress from there?

    Sorry for the autobiography.. As I said, this is the first time commenting on your wonderful blog, so the commenting on my part is kinda retroactive :D

  4. Hi A-S!

    Thanks for the great feedback, I love it when readers comment! I especially appreciate the backstory, so no need to apologize. :)
    What you wrote about challenges, concentration and euphoria.. it is exactly how I feel, and how I imagine every dancer must feel!

    You´re at a really good age to improve heaps yet. I know some of us are more flexible and need less work to achieve splits, but that is not me.. I am not naturally flexible at all, my muscle type seems to be more suited for jumping. In fact if I stretch too much before class I lose my "ballon"! But even I have gradually improved over the years. Most of all you need to be consistent, that is really stretch daily! Yoga also helped me lots. I will try to do a post on "tips and tricks", with lots of links to the best sources online. Coming soon..

    Progress: it happens, albeit slowly. Developpés need work and time, but your extensions will improve. You need a combo of flexibility and strength, and the right exercises to find the proper muscles. My extensions have gotten considerably better in the last 2 years, thanks to a brilliantly pushy teacher. On a good day I can get left leg up to approx shoulder height/135 degr. But is has to be a 100% clean developpé!

    Thanks again for commenting (drop in anytime) and lots more of awesome ballet to you :)

  5. Thank you, your answer was really encouraging! Looking forward to your tips&tricks post :)


To That Special Ballet Teacher

To that special ballet teacher, who not only teaches you about technique, but helps build your confidence, nurtures your inner artist, ...