During recitals this spring, there was talk of DOB having an Adult Ballet Intensive, and somehow I was cajoled into signing up. Honestly, the only part that appealed to me at all was the fact that I’d get to do a little dancing over the summer and see some of my classmates. Not gonna lie, the terms ballet and intensive and two weeks and three hours a day sounded terrible. It was kind of like running a 5k marathon. Man it would suck so bad to actually do, but wouldn’t it be cool if I could say I did it?
As today slowly approached (Okay, it actually approached quite fast. Isn’t that how it works when you’re dreading something?), my anxiety started to grow. I am not by any means one of the elite in class. I am probably pretty average. My ballet technique sucks, and my turn-out has all but disappeared along with my flexibility. I know the basics of ballet. When I started dancing, I was just old enough be over the age cutoff for ballet, so I did lyrical instead. Well, I did plenty of ballet barre. I remember it being boring and terrible—a necessary evil if you will. I also did pointe my senior year, which obviously is a form of ballet. I have only bad memories of that as well (minus the tutu, cuz that was pretty awesome). I don’t know, there was something about bloody toes that I didn’t quite enjoy. Also, I was recovering from dual sprained angles that I received during auditions, so I was constantly paranoid about re-injuring those.
Anyway, I digress.
My ballet experience is lacking compared to others I dance with. I should probably also mention that these classes aren’t taught by the studio instructors I know, they are being taught by professional dancers.
Insecurity issues, anyone? *raises hand*
So all day long, a steady mantra echoed through my mind: I’m doing this for fun, I’m doing this for fun, I’m doing this for fun . . .
On the drive to the studio, I tried putting my impending doom into different perspectives: Three hours is only the length of one recital. Three hours is only one hour longer than two of the longest possible softball games. I have an entire 27 hours before I have to do it again.
If you are curious, no, they didn’t do anything to relax me.
There were 11 of us in the class. There were no strict rules on attire—which was good, because if I had to sport a leotard, I was out—only a recommendation to have ballet shoes. My shoes technically aren’t ballet shoes, but they’re the same basic layout. They are also pink, so I deemed them acceptable.
And let me just say I found it entertaining that we were all wearing pretty pink shoes, but from the ankles up the majority of us were clad in black or tan tights and workout type dancewear.
Our first activity of the evening was 90 minutes of Ballet Technique, 60 minutes of which we spent at the barre. I was surprised to admit that it was the most pleasant technique experience I’ve ever had. Ross, our instructor, was friendly, had a sense of humor, and gave us really good advice. Like, I actually felt myself improve over the hour because I was learning to do things right (for me) as opposed to struggling and being in pain trying to get my foot or leg where I thought it should be. I think a big part to the pleasantness was being in an adult class. He wasn’t pushing us to have a better turn-out or a higher battenment; he wanted us to do the moves right. There weren’t any new moves that I learned while at the barre, but I did get to brush up on a few forgotten terms like fondu (mmm, fondue). The floor, however, was a different story. I learned new stuff. I faked it till I almost made it.
I was really disappointed when the hour and a half was up, and even more so when I found out it was the only time we’d have Ross as an instructor. I know it’s only been one day, but he was awesome. Maybe he’ll have to fill in for someone.
The next half hour was reserved for Strengthening with Colleen. We worked on abs. It was easy compared to the ab workout we do in class, but I liked it. Busting my ass over crunches is not conducive to me making it through three hours of dancing.
For the last hour we had Modern with Laura. I’m not sure she was aware of our mad skillz at first. I think, walking in to a class of adults, I would probably think they had no idea what they were doing either. We started out with some very simple things. When I say simple, I mean simple. I didn’t know how I’d make it through the hour doing things that were more like warm-ups than dance combinations when we spent the first two hours warming up our bodies already. It was all done to weird drumbeat type music, and she gave us a steady stream of “You guys are doing great!” We moved on to some tricky footwork and leaps, and then, like someone flipped a switch, shit got hard. (See? She saw that we had mad skillz). All of a sudden we were learning this complex 32-count combination and I think everyone was like “Wuuut?” But then we let go and just did it, and it turned out to be really fun.
I think the pacing of the class was really well. We didn’t really get any breaks, but I never felt like I needed one. I also never hit that point where I thought I absolutely could not go on if we had to do it one more time. Which is probably good seeing as we need to do it all over again tomorrow!