Thoughts on Returning to Ballet - 4 Months Later
Wednesday, March 16, 2016
I've been back at dancing a couple of months now. The thing about being a former dancer who was out of practice for a number of years (and had two babies to boot) is I know how good I can be. It's very clear, with every class and rehearsal, how not as good I am now.
But the time elapse has resulted in some good changes.
I think I appreciate getting to go to class and work on choreography in ways that I certainly took for granted as a teenager.
I am much more proactive about improvement. Granted certain things, like helpful youtube channels, weren't too much of a thing yet in 2006.
I still don't have a "ballet body" but I am much more ok with that.
Ballet itself is not terribly different. My body condition still matters. Strength and flexibility still matter. Keeping all of the variations, combinations, and instructor preferences in your head still matter.
Ballet doesn't lie to you. If you are faking it, cheating it, or otherwise not giving what you have - it will let you know. (My dozens of ugly, terrible, no good, horribly executed variations are evidence of my continued need to improve.)
If ballet did not demand improvement and if it was too easy, it would lose some of it's appeal for me. Improvement is hard in ballet, but there are so many ways to improve. Finally getting a variation down cold, getting your leg just that much higher, your arches just that much stronger - would not be as satisfying.
I do think you need to be emotionally and physically prepared to return to something you enjoyed, and some level of skill at doing, pre-kids - I would even argue that being mentally and emotionally prepared matter more than physically.
I can see where the temptation lies to be too hard on yourself.
My first couple classes I did, literally, NOTHING right.
And it was ok.
I knew I was terrible at this moment, but I was going to focus on this one exercise right now and do it the best I could right now.
I try not to take myself too seriously in class, and that seems to be the prevailing attitude among the other regular people in the adult classes. We are not going to be professionals. We are here because it's fun and we enjoy it. There is no need to beat yourself up about your turnout or extension. It still needs work, but it's not worth any stress.