Monday, November 24, 2008

Adult ballet - it's just ballet for adults!

I've just returned from my adult ballet class. The phrase 'adult ballet' always causes a few raised eyebrows and snorts as people imagine all sorts of saucy goings on at the barre. However it is what it says, a ballet class for adults. We are a group of ladies, most of us over 40 and none under 30 who meet every Monday and simply learn ballet, going through a series of barre and floor work.

Some of the ladies were keen dancers as children and find their old abilities reawakened. I did a tiny bit of a ballet in my late teens and haven't any ability to reawaken. But oh how I enjoy myself. The movements are exacting, elegant and slow but make no mistake they are not easy, your body lets you know that the day after. Many of them require a level of coordination I've yet to master, I'm always closing front instead of back and using the wrong foot, and fine balance, something I have improved on since starting the class.

After a day at work venturing out to do a ballet class can sometimes feel like a chore but once I'm there I feel energised and I always leave feeling happier and more relaxed than when I went in. I love learning to move my body in a more elegant way to beautiful tunes, this term from the great operas. We do our Ronde de Champ for instance to music by Offenbach and our battement tendu to Verdi! The language of ballet is seductive and slightly mysterious (even if you do know French) and then there is a the laughter. While we all try our best, nobody takes themselves too seriously and much of the time we spend laughing like drains at our mistakes.

I think everyone should try ballet. You don't have to be the next Darcy Bussell and you don't have to wear a tutu but you will discover all sorts of things your body can do and have a lot of fun in the process.

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