Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Are Bethany and Ballet mutually exclusive?

I skipped ballet today.

I hadn't intended to.

I had clothes for ballet (an old Padres shirt and workout pants)
I had my ballet shoes.
I could have left my work projects for tomorrow... but I still skipped ballet.

About 6 months ago I realized I missed dance. My parents put me in dance class when I was 3 years old. And although I took years at a time off from regular classes, it's always been a part of my life in some way. So when I realized that I missed dance, I remember looking down at my out of shape body and at the same time I was feeling the longing to move, I also felt a knot of fear about entering any studio here in my new city.

I heard about ODC's beginning adult ballet class and it sounded like a perfect fit.

Adult beginning ballet at ODC is a beloved and important workshop to the dance program. Utilizing body awareness and sound ballet technique, the class is taught progressively over a one-year period in three quarters – beginning in September, January, and June.... Everything will be explained and questions are welcome in a nurturing and non-competitive environment. Each quarter builds on the information of the previous quarter.... We are committed to teaching ballet and how to make it feel right for each body.

Yes! That's it. The day before the start of the September session, I dusted off my ballet shoes and took lots of deep breaths. I remember giving myself a pep talk as I entered the studio.
"I'm here for beginning adult ballet please."

The person behind the front desk looks up. *Cue the negative self talk in my head. "He thinks I'm fat. He's wondering why I'm here. What ARE you doing here Bethany?"
"That class is full," he says without pausing.

Note that it had never occurred to me that it might be full
"You can take the beginning intermediate teen/adult class that's about to start."

Panic, eek.. Ah...
"No that's okay."

3 months later I was more prepared. Armed with confirmation of my early registration and a renewed sense of confidence I entered the studio again. It was a little intimidating, but only because folks seemed to know each other from the first session. Still, my muscle memory allowed me to tendu and plie right along with the other students.
The second class, I thought I would be more calm. Instead, I was panicked. I called my cousin for a pep talk.
"Beth, you love dance. And you might be nervous but your heart wants this. Don't let your heart and body miss out because your mind is trying to talk you out of it."

Oooooh wise words Keri.

So, yeah. It's gotten a little smoother. And, I still skipped class today. I'm the biggest girl in there. Correction the biggest person in there. But that's been the case most of my dance career. But I don't think that's why I skipped today. I think it's like an old friend that I kind of forgot I wanted and needed in my life. I have have to be patient as we get reacquainted.

I think I'll get some proper dance clothes. Not that I can't dance in my Padres tee, but it'll be fun to be in class with tights and dance shorts and a shirt that allows me to see my form, even the parts that I feel self-conscious about.
And I'll definitely go back to class.


  1. As I read this, I thought about that beautiful picture of you dancing in the fountain in San Diego. That was part of Grace's show, right? (Not sure I'm remembering the details right). What I remember most about the photo is the expression of simultaneous intensity and joy on your face. And also how fun it looked! I am confident you will find the fun.

  2. Thanks LB! Yes! The FUN!!! I think that's the part that I miss, the way it felt when I was moving and in the moment. Getting there =)