There and back again: starting ballet, over and over

I took a several-month hiatus from ballet on account of starting a new job, trying out some different dance classes, and generally being a little tired of ballet. It was much needed. And now I have returned–not as triumphant a return as I might have wished for, perhaps, but not nearly as bad as I feared, either.

Due to schedule restrictions I can only take ballet in the evenings, and I took a beginner-intermediate class to start off. I was essentially ignored by the teacher for most of the class that first night, with no corrections given. But I was so happy. I was actually smiling in center, which is something I rarely do and have been long harangued by my teachers for ignoring. It felt really good.

What was nice was that the teacher assumed I had danced when I was younger, asking me at the end of class where I had trained. Truthfully my training has been very piecemeal, mostly Vaganova with a little RAD thrown in, but I mumbled the name of my school in LA–which was fairly well known for sending off dancers to the NYCB–and ran off as quickly as I could. I had trained there, after all, but never in my life was I one of their pre-professional teens. Still, it was nice to be mistaken for one…sort of!

One of the things about doing ballet–or any kind of serious dance–as an adult is that inevitably there will be periods of time when you have to leave it, for reasons of job, family, whatever. I’ve found that each time I’ve returned, I gain a new appreciation for what I loved in the first place, despite the unavoidable discomfort of trying to get brain and body coordinated once again. And knowing that absence eats away at muscle memory, it’s still surprising how much one remembers.

Also, I think I’m going to start pointe. This has been years in the making. Will report on pointe shoe fittings and first steps in the next few weeks. 🙂

6 thoughts on “There and back again: starting ballet, over and over

  1. Vaneeesa Blaylock

    Congratulations Apricot!

    It is hard to get back to / stay with things as life moves on. It’s funny how who you thought you were becomes who you aren’t while you aren’t looking! 😛

    And sometimes it’s nice to be ignored in class! O_o

    Anyway, can’t wait to hear about your pointe shoe adventures!!

  2. Jen

    Woohoo, congrats to returning to ballet and starting pointe in the imminent future! I can’t wait for the posts about shoe fitting and first classes! I started pointe just 2 weeks ago, am keen to compare experiences 🙂

    I can’t imagine missing ballet classes for months – crazy work load meant that I missed ballet for two weeks once, which resulted in me feeling really sorry for myself and blubbering at my boss >_>;;

    I know what you mean with getting a little tired of ballet though – for that reason I’ve been doing a lot of contemporary (love it, so free!) and recently fell pladunk in love with hip hop :p It helps that my teacher is very, very good-looking, ahaha (that’s the routine we learned too!).!/video/video.php?v=445000801816&ref=mf

    What different dance classes have you been trying? 🙂

    1. apricot Post author

      Ah, your hip hop routine looks very cool. Are you the girl in the back? I tried hip hop once and lived, albeit with a healthy amount of thrashing. I love watching it, but it’s not for me. On my break I took some casual bellydancing classes, and took a few random modern classes (also affirming my lack of affinity for modern). Contemporary is something I’ve always wanted to try, too!

      1. Jen

        Oh no no, I’m not in the video, I wish! I think this was the advanced class, I’m in the beginners class. Just wanted to show you the teacher ^^; I’ve tried hip hop a few times before and never liked it, felt it was too messy (I can understand the thrashing!) and sexualised. But this routine I really liked cos it was clean and quite, um, asexual?

        Ooh, I also tried belly dancing, it was a lot of fun! I have no bum or boobs though, so it just looked a bit, uh, anticlamactic.

        Huh, I’m in the UK, and I thought contemporary dance (Release, Cunningham, Graham, Limon) here is what is referred to as modern dance in the US. What does contemporary mean for you? Heh, I’m not fond of floorwork either, but I love being off-balance and falling 🙂

  3. Catherine Scherer

    I started back up this month after a 17 year hiatus. I’m a 37 year old mother of 2 now. I was one of those pre-teen phenoms and after a few summer intensives was steered by my parents to ensure I went to college, not to a professional ballet company. I am one of the few smiling in class now- how I’ve missed it and love it so. I, too am challenging myself to get back into pointe shoes this year. Despite the fierce cramping of my feet just during my first few barre exercises just a few weeks ago. Glad to have found our blog. I’ll keep reading!


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