So I took a deep breath and walked into my first adult ballet class.
Our class is a real mixture, some of us have danced when we were children (me), and some have never taken a ballet class in their life. We are all friends, but it still took some courage to walk in to the studio, especially since the class before ours is an Advanced Vocational class! We were slightly early, so we got to watch and marvel at their beautiful dancing en pointe, secretly (or maybe not so secretly) wishing that we might one day look like them.
Then it was our turn. We started out by jogging, skipping, or walking energetically (depending on our individual ability) around the perimeter of the room to warm up. We all laughed together, making comments about how unfit we were. After a few minutes of warming up, it was time to go to the barre.
The first thing Miss Leigh-Anne talked about was weight placement of our feet. You should always have your weight forward with your heel just skimming the floor. We practised shifting our weight forwards and back onto our heels. It’s amazing how such a slight shift of weight can make a difference in the way you hold yourself. The next thing we learned was ballet posture. Holding your core in , flattening your back and focusing on lengthening your body. Again, such small movements make such a big difference!
After all this, she told us to get into first position remembering all the things she had just taught us about weight and posture. We had a little laugh as she then reminded us to BREATHE at the same time!
In first position she talked to us about turnout. How turnout should always use the whole leg and come from the hip, never leading with the foot. So much to remember, and we hadn’t done a single exercise yet!! 😀
THEN…came time for the first barre exercise. Miss Leigh-Anne thought grade 3 of the RAD syllabus would be a good start for us so we began with battements tendus and battements glissés. It’s hard to believe, but just doing that one exercise trying to remember everything we had learned about placement and posture took up every last bit of my concentration. But oh, it was such a glorious feeling to be back at the ballet barre. Especially with all the wonderful encouragement we were given. Miss Leigh-Anne is such a gifted teacher. I have seen her bring out the very best in every one of her students in the years I have been bringing my girls to her. And our little beginner class was no exception. No matter what we really looked like, she made us feel like we could do it!
And then… suddenly, class was over! The half hour had passed so quickly! I loved every minute of it.
We ended with a few stretches and she asked us if we wanted to continue with 45 minute classes or a full hour. We all agreed that we wanted to go for broke with the full hour and a slight time change to 8 pm.
I left already counting down to next week.