Longing for Ballet

Tonight was prenatal yoga, and since the space doubles as a ballet studio, there are barres along the front and side walls.During class, we had the opportunity to use them — doing some stretches and then for tree pose (which I can still do, even 6-mths pregnant) and dancer pose (which I definitely wobbled during but ultimately survived!).

(Side note: Since my sense of balance has been shifting, I’ve been singing, “Weebles wobble but they don’t fall down …” — sparked by the resurgence of the Weebles TV spot, v. 2010!)

Working on the barre brought me back to my childhood and early teenage years and made me miss ballet enormously. I started dancing at age 3, and over the next 12 years, I took tap, jazz, ballet (and later pointe), but ballet was always my favorite.

I didn’t stop dancing til I was 15 when, sophomore year, I was one of only four girls to make the Varsity cheerleading team and the time commitment was too great between practices, games, competitions  — in addition to coaching my little sister’s squad on the side. Ultimately, dancing had to go.

And though I loved cheering, a part of me always missed ballet and how it made me feel.

No, I was never the thinnest girl in class; I was never the most delicate or the most agile. But my dance teachers always complimented me on how graceful I was, how flexible I was, how good my turnout was … and in pink tights and a black leotard, I felt like one of the crowd — like I belonged.

Tonight, working at the barre and then later on the mat, I found myself channeling that inner girl who was graceful and strong and powerful … and when I turned in the mirror and noticed my round, perky belly (in a tight tank and yoga pants, I definitely have bump action going on) I felt incredible … realizing what I’m doing for my body and how good it was making me feel.

I’m sure we’ll enroll Baby Girl in ballet when she’s old enough, but I’m seriously considering taking some adult classes after she’s born or, at the very least, ordering some ballet DVDs. Being in a studio tonight reminded me how much I really, truly miss it. Funny how it took going to prenatal yoga classes to remind me of that …

How about you? If you used to dance, have you picked it up again as an adult?


12 thoughts on “Longing for Ballet

  1. I danced all growing up (tap, jazz, ballet, and hip hop) and miss it often. I take an occasional class here and again, but not often. If you are looking for good dvds though, I LOVE my NYCB workout dvds. I have Vol. 1 and Vol. 2.

    I’ve also recently jumped into zumba and LOVE it. I’m moving and dancing, but I’m not struck by how much I’ve lost in strength/balance/etc since I was dancing regularly.

  2. I found this post in a round-about way, but I had to comment, because I just began adult ballet classes! I took ballet classes when I was little, but quit, and picked up Irish step in high school. I’m in my early twenties now, and I’m back in ballet and LOVING it. I feel so completely content standing at the barre, repeating the familiar practices.

      1. thanks! it’s actually a screenname, but i love it too. and that would be such a beautiful middle name for your daughter!

  3. I was at a profesisonal ballet school as a child and took it all very seriously into my teens, developed an ED and eventually had to stop when I was 21 after my Advanced RAD exam. It was a major wrench to do so because it owned me and defined me and had been all i lived for my formative years. I knew I needed to to get well.Released from that, healthy again and considerably stronger I have recently begun doing a few adult classes at a ballet school – tentatively as it’s so linked in my mind with crappy eating practices. But so far so good. It’s utterly lovely to be back at the barre and feel all that ballet used to mean to me without the pressure of a professional school. I LOVE it – so your post really resonates with me today. Enjoy getting back to it, there are some great dvds out there!

    1. Lizzie, it sounds like a LOT of dancers develop EDs. I wasn’t a competitive dancer,so I wonder if that’s why it never hit me. Glad you’re better now and isn’t it a wonderful feeling to be back at the barre?! Awesome!

  4. I just started assistant teaching an adult tap and jazz class and it is a class of amazing woman who have been dancing forever. Most of them who have kids at the studio. I didn’t start dacning until I was 14 and I can’t imagine not dancing now.

  5. Wonderful post my friend. I truly understand about the anxious side of you that you are talking about. I have a pretty hardcore anxious side. It sometimes makes things worse but other times it gets me going, giving me this sense that I need to get the job done. I also like to think of my body as a temple. It is a good way to look at it. Taking care of it inside and out making sure it is beautiful but inviting and real.

    I also get what you are saying about gaining in the fall/winter. I lost a total of 133 lbs. I am maintaining very well but I am not at that 133 still. I have gained weight to where I have 122 off of my bones now. 185 lbs instead of 174. It makes me worried and mad a bit, but hey, I just keep on keeping on. It is still what I weighed in high school and that is kinda nice. I actually fit into my 8th grade graduation shirt now.

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