Tuesday, 15 February 2011

What a difference a year makes

In my class this evening were 4 new girls (ok, women, but we're all girls to the teacher); girls I had never seen before and girls new to the adult ballet scene. Evidently, from their placing in the advanced class, they've danced before, but they were also clearly nervous. After I'd got over my initial indignation of having my barre space 'stolen' (I really hadn't realised how possessive I could get about a space) I began to think about my initial return to ballet about a year and a half ago.

My blog is not quite as old as my attendance at adult class, so I missed reporting on the first tentative months of my return, but in a friendly chat at the end of class this evening, my dance teacher pointed out just how terrified I looked in most of my classes back then.  The new adults were explaining how they felt they couldn't remember anything and that perhaps they should go back into beginners and my dance teacher piped up, "you should have seen Hannah when she first joined; I could practically see tears welling up every time I asked her to do something new." And she was right - I remember coming away thinking "I'll never be able to do this," I couldn't put together combinations easily, my brain and feet felt completely stressed out, and I felt more clumsy than I could imagine.

But, a year later, and how different do I feel? I'm still not perfect. It still takes me longer than the teenagers to pick things up. I still have to switch my brain and feet on before I enter the studio. But I feel like a different dancer: My muscle memory has returned; my strength has grown and I'm tackling more complicated combinations (especially in the centre) than I would even have done as a teenager.

Don't look too closely at the hands - look at the smile!
(Image - Bex Singleton via Ballet News)

What a difference a year makes. It's gradual, and at times imperceptible, but I'm becoming a better and more confident dancer, and that makes me happy!


  1. What a lovely post. Possession of space is something more often seen with vocational students so I'd say you really have come a very long way from where you started. Well done ! And who cares about the odd hand ? It's the shoes.... and the smile... as you say!

  2. Hehe, I had to give myself a strict telling off when I caught myself in the 'barre situation' - interestingly, it seems to be leading to new developments though (post to follow).

    I also meant to let you know that I've framed the ENB R&J poster in a vintagey looking white frame - it's fab, I just have to find somewhere in my teeny-tiny house to put it up (it's enormous) - I'll post a pic at some point!