One thing that is cool about having moved around between different countries and cities is that you become familiar with so many places. I watched this amazing documentary, First Position, yesterday, about kids and adolescents with a passion for ballet trying to make it as dancers. And even though I am not exactly a ballerina, I have actually taken ballet classes at two of the studies in the movie: the Maryland Youth Ballet here in Washington, and the Ailey Extension in New York. The movie is very touching and I really recommend it, also for you who don’t dance.
I took a dance class yesterday for the first time in over a month. It was great as always – dancing makes me happy and energized! Most of the time anyway. I have had kind of a love-hate relationship with ballet for a while. Taking up ballet after 15 years made me realize how much I had missed dancing but also that I am not at the level where I was in my early 20s. But the class yesterday went well, which meant feeling strong and gracious – almost weightless. Today, I am paying for it, of course, and especially my feet hurt here and there. I browsed around to see how to get rid of the pain and came across an article in the Guardian describing foot injuries among ballet dancers. The article told stories of bleeding feet, toenails falling off, and dancers performing night after night with fractured feet. And when I read the article, I couldn’t help asking myself if dancing ballet really is that wonderful, or if it’s just insane?
The Swan Lake is apparently the most painful ballet to dance for a female dancer’s feet.
One of the many great things with my stay up in New York was that I had the opportunity to take ballet classes for Finis Jhung at the Ailey Extension. I came across his instruction DVDs about two years ago and even though I’ve danced for so many years and for so many different teachers in different countries, I learned a lot from his methods. Taking classes for him was fantastic: a little intimidating at first but it quickly gave results. I did, however, also manage to catch a cold while up in New York, so I haven’t been able to dance in over a week and am by now suffering from serious ballet abstinence! In The Happiness Project, Gretchen Ruben writes that it is good to do things that we enjoyed doing as children and I think she is right. Given how much energy I get from dancing, I just can’t believe I stayed away from ballet for over ten years! Sadly enough, I don’t think I’m the only adult who has given up things I really love only to do things that I don’t enjoy at all, just because it is expected.
Newly acquired point shoes ready to be broken in.