I have just ordered a new pair of pointe shoes for the first time in over a year. Proper ballet class is back on.
For those of you that read La Petite Ballerine you’ll know how much of a passion taking ballet classes used to be. Unfortunately a few issues, mainly anxiety and then my regular class being cancelled last summer meant that over the last year I have barely attended a regular class. I’ve since become a little bit stuck in the middle between not wanting to give it up or letting go completely.
Wouldn’t ballet life be easier if it wasn’t such an effort to get to class. I used to have to walk 3 miles to get there and then the 3 miles back after an hour and a half of dancing. This, sometimes along with anxiety became just an easy excuse not to attend.
Now regular class is back, and now it’s on a different day, it’s only a 10 minute walk from work. There’s still a 3 mile walk home after class but that might become a run as I’ll get home quicker.
I’m quite sure that it’s going to hurt. It’s been 7 months since my last 1.5 hour intermediate class (including 30mins en pointe). I haven’t done a pirouette en pointe in 7 months! I’m not unfit thanks to all the running, HIIT sessions, weights, etc but ballet it different. I feel stiff in the lower back and hips compared to before. I think there is going to be a lot of stretching and yoga sessions over the next week.
One thing I want to make sure of when I go back next week is that I don’t let fear of my abilities consume me. I am an adult taking ballet class for fitness and pure enjoyment and if I feel out of my comfort zone then it is okay to take a step back. Last spring we started learning fouettes en pointe and it gradually became something I dreaded in class. I felt pressured by myself to progress quickly and that in turn just made me overthink everything which inevitably just heightened an anxiety that was already brewing. I used to breathe a sigh of relief when we moved on to the next exercise.
I have certainly being concentrating on the negatives of my own mental struggles around ballet class over the last year. Yet, if I push all of these to one side what’s left is the fact that I genuinely miss dancing. Whenever I have attended any class over the last 7 months there have been moments of dancing that have been just plain lovely. All of the pirouettes, the rond de jambes, THE DEVELOPPES and right down to the port de bras in a plie routine are just ballet heaven. When my fellow ballerinas describe what I have missed when I don’t attend I get ‘ballet-class-pangs’ and want to be back in those 1.5 hour classes where I get excited about dancing en pointe and everything hurts the next day.
So hopefully this is it, my chance to get back to enjoying where I started. There’s just the small problem of sewing the pointe shoes first…