So now that summer is in full swing (solstice is the MIDDLE of summer, people!) one of my all time favorite TV shows has been on the air for a month now: So You Think You Can Dance. Not only that I’ve found an Australian TV show on Netflix about a group of teenagers attending the Nation Academy of Dance in Sydney. Sure it’s catered to teens, but I’m quite enjoying it and the ballet.
I danced ballet for 6ish years. I completed Grades 4-8 of the Royal Academy of Dance’s syllabus, plus other classes. I did make it to pointe and did a pointe class for a year. When I was in grade 12 I was dancing 8.5 hours over 4 days every week. My body was in pretty good shape. If anything, the only reason why I wasn’t that good was because I started when I was 12, not 3 like the ones who are professional material by the time they’re 17. My dance school had a couple of hopefuls that got extra attention from the owner/teacher and they were a pleasure to watch rehearse and perform at the end of the year.
I danced for a good year after I graduated high school. I tackled two grades at once and for a couple of months I would commute from Ladner to New West because I refused to go to any other dance school. Then as I moved out on my own I really enjoyed my independence and had a hard time committing to anything. I tried going back a couple of times, but would always give up a month or two in. I just didn’t want to leave my house to go to a one hour class once a week. I know it’s not asking much, but I lacked the motivation and self discipline to do it despite the fact that I would enjoy it.
Now it’s been years since I’ve danced in a class. But I’ve done enough ballet that I remember the jargon, I remember the moves, I remember the technique involved. It’s just my body. It has aged, it has lost it’s strength, it has been to childbirth and back and with NO exercise either before or after. I can dance for 1 minute in my living room and my legs feel it. But, this has me thinking….I could benefit from dancing again on a therapeutic level. I could rehabilitate my body and regain some strength and flexibility by dancing again. That is, of course, that I work hard and push myself. But hard work doesn’t have to be grueling if you’re enjoying what you’re doing.
And I miss it. I really do. And now that our income is better I’m dying to go back in the fall. The school still has some familiar faces from when I was dancing. They’re in the adult class where I don’t have to share a barre with a bunch of spry teenagers. Not that I’m ashamed of myself in any way, shape, or form, but I am heavier, lacking in practice both physically and mentally, and I’m not sure how well I will keep up at first. It’s going to be challenging, but I’m really hoping it will still be fun, and if I’m having a hard time with it then it’s opportunity to grow a stiff upper lip and push myself to improve rather than accept that it’s just no longer for me. It’s going to be an interesting search for balance, finding a way to let it improve myself while not taking it so seriously that it stresses me out. I’m there to have fun first and foremost.