Archive from July, 2016
7 Jul
2016
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Learn Something New: Adult Ballet

girl performing in a ballet recital

Each year I make a short list of books to read, places to visit and a new thing to learn. I manage to finish the book list and cross off places we visited. Then there’s the thing to learn. For three years, the new thing has remained the same: take a ballet class. It sits at the bottom of the list with me making no attempts to make it a reality.

The excuses piled up. I’m almost 40, surely too old for ballet. There isn’t any time with the kids activities. I’m probably not going to be any good at it. On and on it went with no truth to the excuses.

I’m not too old. I know there are ways to schedule things if they are important enough. I’m not thinking of becoming a ballerina. My goal is simply having a better understanding of the dance world my daughter loves.

A couple months ago I stopped making excuses and asked my daughter’s dance teacher about the possibility of taking an adult ballet class. Fast forward to now, week three of my summer dance class. There are several moms taking the class in all kinds of shapes, sizes and ages. It’s not easy, but it’s fun. I’m asking my body to move in ways it hasn’t had to in decades. Splits anyone? There’s terminology to master in French, which I don’t speak. It’s nerve-wrecking to do turns across the room with a wall of mirrors in front of you and your classmates watching.  There’s camaraderie there with my dance friends as we each work on training our bodies to do something new. I’m far outside of my comfort zone, but enjoy learning a new skill and improving. I draw the line at the leotard and tutu my daughter desperately wants me to wear to class. T-shirts and yoga pants for me.

Our three sons play sports I’ve played before and I still attempt to play with them. I know what it’s like to play a basketball game or suffer the tired muscles after a long practice. I understand the terms they use and what’s happening on the field and in the gym. Dance is a different story. Our daughter dances all the time and has since she was a toddler. It’s her passion, and the learning curve is steep for this mama. I’m constantly learning about dance gear and which brands are more reliable and where to purchase things for the best price. I have much to learn about mothering a dancer.

The idea of an adult ballet class came from wanting to understand what my daughter loves. Her glissade looks effortless, and I know now that it takes work to make it look easy. There’s a lot to think about from your shoulders to hands to hips to toes. I have a better understanding of what ballet class feels like for her, and she loves that I share this with her. She reminds me to stretch and has me practice through the dining room correcting me as I go. I stopped making excuses and deepened a bond with my daughter as well as learning something new. What new thing have you learned lately?