There are four of us that take pointe class, the four of us that have been taking class together since 2012. Sometimes not all four of us can make it to class. Sometimes there are just two of you and there is no hiding.
Last week there was just one.
Nobody else. And I can’t remember the last time I had an accidental private pointe class. Some people would pay for that experience but not me. I like to lurk at the back of the studio since the mirrors are not my friends and I don’t like the attention, especially when I’m not feeling confident in the choreography or my ballerina skills.
I had to face everything I like to avoid in ballet class. From the fact the barre was dragged really close to the mirrors at the front, to the fact that my teacher, even as well as she knows me, was actually watching E-V-E-R-Y single move I made.
I thought this was going to be 30 minutes of hell but in reality it turned out to be a surprise confidence booster. From being told that my weight was distributed properly during slow elevés in coupé to being told positive feedback about my developpés. The shock. And also the embarrassment. The pirouettes went well in that I didn’t fall over them during the enchainment and I was told I should be doing doubles en pointe, I told her I didn’t want broken ankles…
Being alone meant facing the reflection in the mirrors, which usually means critiquing my own physical ‘ballerina’ appearance and usually being dissatisfied. I seem to spend a lot of time looking at what I don’t have rather than what I do, and perhaps it was because I had luckily chosen an all black outfit to wear to class, including black tights, but being that close to the mirrors for once actually revealed some pretty nice looking ballerina muscles in the legs.
As it turns out, the worst class possible was probably the best class I have had in a long time. It forced me to realise that I might (can) actually dance. (You’d think after five years I should be able to.) And it forced me to take a look at my body in a different light, rather than just criticising the shape of my middle/hips during an arabesque in a distant mirror.
I CAN pirouette en pointe.
And chainé across the studio en pointe.
And I’ve got the leg muscles that make me do so.