Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Cross-training: Ballet

I needed a ballet picture for this post so I went to The Commons on Flickr and found this. Wow!

Valentina Blinova in L'Oiseau de feu [The Firebird], Ballets Russes, Sydney, 1936-1937 / Max Dupain


I went to my first ever ballet class yesterday. I've been meaning to go for months and months. It's something that my teacher Jolie has been encouraging me to do to improve my belly dance. But as I've confessed before on this blog, I am very nervous about doing new things. So every week I'd say "I should go to Beginner Adult Ballet on Thursday" and when Thursday rolled around, I'd make an excuse not to... too tired, not feeling well, want to laze around the house with my husband because he's had a stressful week at work. Well, now there's Beginner/Intermediate Ballet on Mondays, so I made myself go. I found out about it yesterday, so I had no time to make excuses.


Being in ballet class was totally different from being in bellydance class. Most of the class was spent doing exercises at the barre. The teacher Christy would explain what we were going to do and then watch us do it, rather than leading, which meant I spent a lot of time putting my ITS peripheral vision to use to "follow" the students who seemed to know what the heck they were doing. On the other hand, since Christy wasn't leading, she was walking around the room giving corrections, and she was very nice and encouraging about it.


I probably should have gone to a straight-up beginner class rather than a beg/int one, because there seemed to be a definite expectation that the students already knew basic ballet terms and had some familiarity with what they were supposed to be doing. This meant that some things that we already do in bellydance class made sense to me, and others I just kind of stumbled along and hoped no one was looking at me. There was also a bit of material that is pretty difficult for a newbie, such as pirouettes (which we do sometimes in bellydance but I still suck at) and some fast jumping.


That said, since Monday at 4:30 is a pretty convenient time for me to go to class, and since I like a challenge, I think I might keep throwing myself into the deep end. Besides, we did exercises to Star Wars music, so my inner nerd was pleased even while my inner dance critic was crying "we're so BAD AT THIS!!!"


By the way, speaking of my inner dance critic, I have a message for it: Of course we're bad at ballet. We're new to it. We were bad at ITS when we started, and we were bad at Tribal Fusion when we started. Everything has a learning curve, so just shut up and be patient.

EDIT: I have no idea what Blogger has done to this post. What a mess.

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