Confessions Of A 40-Year-Old Ballerina
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My first adult ballet class.. Two weeks ago I took my first adult ballet class in fifteen years. What took me so long? I’ve been asking myself the same question.
There’s the obvious – For most of my adult life, I’ve been an artist and solo-parent. This generally translates to years of making very little money and having little to no insurance (to say nothing of childcare costs). A good decade of my life was spent counting every penny and praying to the Gods that I wouldn’t get injured, which meant anything I wanted to do ‘just for fun’ was out of the question.
There are also societal reasons. As a culture, the arts or really anything considered “womanly” is generally not respected, appreciated, or supported. Say you’re going to a dance class and folks will label you ridiculous. Unless, of course, it promises to transform your body into the Western ideal. I hate to admit it but this internalized misogyny plagued me till, well, two weeks ago.
Instead of taking an actual ballet class, I tried everything else. Running was empowering, but it wasn’t ballet, CrossFit made me feel invincible, but it wasn’t ballet. Spinning, rollerskating, fencing – each felt like the “low calorie” alternative to what I really wanted.
It’s like whenever I try to cut out coffee I end up drinking gallons of tea or munching chocolates way more than I normally would in a feeble attempt to get the same satisfaction. Sometimes, it’s better to just drink a little coffee.
At The Barre
Then, I took a ballet class. Not to get all in my feelings, but it was everything I’d been missing. I moved my body in the way it’s been craving while listening to the classical music I adore. Chopin, Debussy, and Vivaldi are composers who help me get in touch with that wordless part of myself.
The Space To Be Me
Going to a studio outside my home allows me to release all of the labels. I’m no longer Mama, wife, sister, daughter, colleague, or collaborator. I am simply myself, moving to the music of my heart, and a ballerina that may never walk on the stage again. Which is more than okay because this art is just for me.
What is something you’ve been wanting to try just for you? Comment below.