A massive chunk of the previous blog was ballet. All the ballet. Watching ballet, learning ballet, struggling with ballet and loving ballet. Ballet was were the main audience was drawn from.
This year me and ballet have had a love/dislike relationship. I have been to fewer classes than ever this year and it started in February. And the reason was anxiety.
The first time I experienced anxiety was last November. I didn’t like it. Fast forward through the depths of winter and to one completely normal and boring afternoon at the end of February. I was sat in front of a computer at work and this overwhelming fear of dread appeared. So did heart palpitations. I could feel my heart pounding in my chest.
For the next few months this became a recurring issue. There was no specific trigger. The dread would appear, the heart would pound and quite often there would be a heavy feeling in the pit of my stomach that would be there constantly for a few days. Work noticed. None of it made sense. Well, it does make sense if you consider that it is very much caused by the consequences of last year.
Sometimes it caused me to not want to go out. And that’s why ballet became difficult. From February to late spring attending class was sporadic. It was easier not to go. It was sometimes a real push to get myself to go and yet it was always better for me to go.
As the spring gave way to summer things started to feel better. I had another month off during July due to going to the Alps and I was genuinely glad to get back to dancing. I actually missed the feel of the pointe shoes, the feel of turnout muscles and just dancing. Climbing mountains does nothing for your turnout muscles.
Just as I was getting back to ballet my regular class was cancelled. Four years of learning ballet as an adult, finished. The alternative day/time was near on impossible so that was that. I guess you really don’t miss something until it’s gone.
I tried a different dance school’s intermediate class. I hadn’t realised how far I had actually come. The different class felt basic. There were no fondus, NO DEVELOPPES, no adage in the centre and pirouettes seemed to have only just been taught. I left feeling deflated and missing the chunky-get-your-teeth-into-complex barre routines that I was used too. I missed the ache in the hip and calf muscles that plaqued you after class.
I went crawling back to my old teacher and started attending their beginner’s class. It might be basic but I get more from correcting technique and being able to attend in pointe shoes that I did at the alternative class. I get the post-ballet-class-aches.
Saying this, again, attendance has been sporadic. Work, something that has never got in the way of ballet has done over the last month as it’s been so intense and I have often left feeling as though I have no brain.
I’m planning on returning next week. I miss the pointe shoes and the developpes and running (something I took up again in the summer) isn’t quite as pretty.