Through the Escape Hatch

So I skipped my Saturday morning class today…

To go to Saturday morning class at another studio.

Does this make me unfaithful?

I don’t know, I just felt the need to get away.

Our Saturday morning class is one I have a love-hate relationship with anyway. For one thing, it’s the one class where the adults and kids are combined. We have nice kids, so that in and of itself isn’t a problem it’s just…

I don’t know, sometimes (a lot of times) I leave feeling totally defeated and frustrated. The kids seem to take whatever gets thrown at them and just do it. Not that they always do it well, but they do it. Which is respectable. Sometimes I think that’s how you learn… just try and see what happens and refine as you go. But there are times when all I can think is, why am I here? Is this class meant to remind me of my weaknesses, my failings, the things that I will likely never conquer in the studio?

And then I want to cry and break things.

I know, I know, I being overly angsty about this.

The truth is, a lot of us adults feel this way at one time or another and the nice part is that we can all support one another.

And then there will come a class where the exercises all (or, at least, mostly) feel good and you walk out feeling exhilarated. Which makes up for a boatload of meh classes.

I don’t know, I think I’m just going through a weird growing pain phase in my ballet “career” that I don’t quite know how best to approach.

But I’m getting ahead of myself into a topic for another post.

Back to this morning.

So, Nutcracker auditions are tomorrow. Which are always a bit anxiety-provoking, even if they are mostly a formality (most of the dancers come from our own stock of students, so the people doing the casting know the raw material they have to work with and who will work best for what). You still want to go out there and dance proud, which is hard to do if you’re in a weird mental space brought on by feeling defeated.

Also, it’s hard to slay anxiety when you’re surrounded by people who not only share that feeling, but talk non-stop about the feeling!

Thus, I decided to spend the morning in a class where I knew I would A) get a good workout, B) get good corrections, and C) not be around anyone else I know from the studio!

So… I returned to BBS-Newton for the first time since the ASDP glory days to take class with one of the teachers I had over the summer. I’d enjoyed his classes then and was hoping to rekindle some of the magic I felt during those two weeks.

And, dear reader, I’m so glad I did. It was just what the doctor ordered. There were no miracles in the studio, but I felt good for the most part. I felt strong and centered and technically clean. And, bonus, I saw a lot of familiar faces which was fun. I’ve taken a couple classes at the main studio in Boston and didn’t recognize anyone from the program there… I guess they’re all Newton regulars.

Time will tell if this will spell a good omen for tomorrow. But I will at least be going in with the reminder that I can feel beautiful and strong and competent as a dancer and that will be the most recent ballet memory tomorrow when I pin on my number bib and go dance in front of the panel of judges!

Ballet zen has been achieved for the moment.

Go forth and conquer, grasshopper.

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2 thoughts on “Through the Escape Hatch

  1. Lily says:

    I can totally identify with that “frustrated and defeated” feeling! Most of the time, I leave class feeling fairly uplifted, but every now and then, I’ll have a class where I’m just not feeling it and/or the class is way beyond my ability, and I just end up completely deflated. I think it’s because ballet is something I really love to do, so I’m incredibly disappointed when a class doesn’t live up to my lofty expectations!

  2. Reece says:

    Every so often I’m struck with the total absurdity of a 50-mumble year old man taking beginning ballet classes. I rub elbows in the dressing room with former principal dancers from major ballet companies, and with up-and-coming kids who will probably join professional companies within the next few years. What am I going to do with ballet training? It’s totally useless to me.

    The answer is that it makes me feel good. I feel like I’ve taken on a challenge and am getting better week by week, if only slowly. I don’t expect to ever perform on stage, and I’m okay with that. And when it bothers me, I just keep on doing it anyway and the bother disappears. It’s counter to my normal goal-driven personality but I think that’s good for me. And who knows, maybe when I’m 80-some and don’t need a walker, I’ll look back and think “there was a goal after all”.

    So hang in there. Don’t judge yourself against any external reference. All that matters is that you feel like you’re getting something rewarding out of it, regardless of what that “something” is.

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