I’m so very happy to announce that I have a new piece on the unexpected pleasures of taking adult beginner ballet up at Longreads. I write about my love-hate relationship with ballet, the fun of reading ballet memoirs, and the joys of imperfection.
Swan, Late: The unexpected joys of adult beginner ballet
I very much hope it will inspire some of my readers to try a beginner ballet class!
I loved your essay. I was one of those “gifted child dancers” who left as a teen and returned in my twenties and then left again. When I finally returned, after 3 kids, my sleepy muscles woke right up and the teacher said, “Oh, I see you’re a dancer.” Ecstacy. Yet, just as you pointed out in your fine essay, the pursuit of perfection and the battle with the mirror–yearning for what once was–makes for a miserable returning adult student. I did push past this though and ended up teaching the class. The most dedicated students were the ones who had little prior dance training. Their struggles (just to get the arm right) made me realize how much I took for granted. I still do barre at home and stretches, but I’ve since moved into jazz which is much less exacting. I love it. Finally, I get to move my hips!
Thank you for this wonderful comment, Evelyn! And yes, I know what you mean about the need to move your hips — I haven’t been in bellydance classes for a while and I feel a need to stretch my body in all sorts of ways I can’t in ballet.