Bodyworks

So, here’s the update on my first class as a teacher: cancelled. Inclement weather. Boo.

I was looking forward to getting underway after weeks of preparation! But ballet is not life or death and I’m happy to be safe at home, snuggled on the couch in front of the fireplace with my cats and a hot homemade cafe mocha. On the plus side, we don’t have a barre yet, so probably worked out just as well. My poor friend who somehow got roped into building it for me last-minute informed me that he spent this morning driving around to 6 different home improvement stores to find all the needed materials. Next week, hopefully, we will have both a barre and a class! Stay tuned!

So, seeing as my original post theme for the day is shot… I’m going with a different one, something I thought about last night in ballet class.

At the studio where I take ballet the adults do not have to follow a strict dress code, but the official word (for the ladies) is: solid color leotard, pink tights, pink ballet slippers. Unlike the kid classes the adults are allowed to wear warm-up stuff, t-shirts, etc., and most people take liberal advantage of that. I, however, am pretty much a minimalist. Occasionally I may sport some legwarmers or a sweater, but in general I stick to tights and leotard. The extra layers mostly just serve to annoy me and I hate being overly hot. This was a little scary at first. Pink tights are great for showing off line, and also great for showing off cellulite. Yum. Oh, and no matter how skinny you are or whether you wear traditional tights or low-rise tights, hello muffin-top! Leotards also like to cut right into the butt fat. Blargh. And yet…

I don’t mind looking at my reflection during dance class anymore. Well, except when it’s showing me that I’m not doing something right. But I don’t spend time fretting about the size of my bottom. I don’t scrutinize the arm-jiggle. Not like I did in high school or college. Yesterday our substitute teacher (she’s usually a student in the class, but she is a regular faculty member at the school) had us do an exercise where we did two ballet walks, a piqué to an arabesque, and a penchée directly towards the mirror so that we could see whether our leg was properly placed in arabesque. As we got closer to the mirror I noticed the muscles in my thighs as I walked forward, my deltoids as I came down into penchée, my foot pointed straight behind me. And I thought, wow, I look good. I don’t look like a professional. I don’t look like a model. But damn, I am proud of my body and what it can do.

Now maybe this is partly because I am at my “happy weight.” Maybe I’d feel differently if I returned to ballet a year or two ago when I was 5-10 lbs heavier. But I’m not sure. I think this might be one of those things about taking up dance as an adult. I don’t take my body for granted anymore. I’m more impressed by what it can do than what it can’t. I want to improve my technique, but it’s something I’m doing for me, not to try to prove something to my classmates or anyone else. I appreciate the things about myself that are beautiful and have realized over the years that the things I’ve spent copious amounts of time agonizing over are oftentimes things that other people admire. I can do a lot with what I’ve got.

The point of this isn’t to say, damn, I’m hot! But rather to recognize the self-assurance I lacked as a younger dancer. Now I’m a little more realistic with myself and a little kinder. And that makes dance all the more fun.

Speaking of fun and being comfortable in your own skin, I shall leave you with this… enjoy!

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One thought on “Bodyworks

  1. Sandy says:

    video reminds me of an old Bobby McFarrin bit from the 1980’s!

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