Dance has been an integral part of my life for the last eighteen years, but for the past several years my role has been that of dance teacher, not performer. You enter a different mindset when you teach, versus when you take class. You are on the lookout for the smallest details in your students’ technique and as convenient as it seems, it’s hard to press in to give yourself a good class since the actual goal is to develop the students’ skills.
I got to take (take, not teach) a ballet class last Monday for the first time since March, and it felt great. Really great.
I have a lot on my plate right now, as I know we all do, and it was reassuring to reach for that smooth wooden barre, check my alignment, and begin a plié combination, like I have thousands of times since the age of seven.
Ballet is my first love. I love the elegance, the lines, the music. I love how the steps build on each other, and how the beautiful French terms evoke a sense of reverence of steps from centuries past.
I also love the structure of class, and how it literally never changes, no matter where you go or who you take from. You do barre exercises, center adage, petite allegro and some form of grande allegro. Give or take. It’s the same every time, and I love that. It’s the same structure if you were to take class on the East Coast or West Coast, in London or Paris.This is exactly what irritates some, but for the ISFJ person that I am, it comforts and inspires me.
Ballet class is my zen place. For some it’s the golf course, the lake, or the basketball court. But for me it’s the dance room. In a swiftly changing world with pressures and “stressors,” ballet class is one place where they melt away.
Dance offered me so many benefits throughout my training years, so many that I didn’t notice them until I quit taking class regularly. The constant movement of taking class 3-5 days a week kept my back and neck loose, the regular release of endorphins through exercise kept me on an even keel throughout my teenage years, and the heart of dance kept me connected in a special way to my Creator.
Dance isn’t just a fine art, but a whole body-soul-spirit connection. It is my zen place, which I realize now more than ever. No matter what happens, no matter what changes or crazy things happen in this world, I can look forward to ballet class.
Because in ballet class, tendus always come after pliés.