So to begin today here are a few things I’ve learned a month and a half into my new vie de ballet:
- it’s lovely to learn something completely new as an adult – I’d encourage anyone to give this a go.
- having live music in the lessons (thanks to pianist Jenny) is a real luxury…it means our teacher (Holly) can really tailor the lesson to our particular needs.
- to be any good at ballet you have to train your hip bones to twist in their sockets, which I guess is one reason ballet has so many advantages for older people (where hips are vulnerable).
- you have to strain every sinew in your feet to get them into the habit of being able to ‘peel’ off the floor…the toes, like an over-exuberant party guest, are the first to arrive on the floor after a jump, and the last to leave it.
- manipulating your own body weight and your centre of gravity is critical (I practice this on the Tube in London, which demands good balance if you’re travelling ‘hands free’).
- it’s all about the line you create with your body…the quest to create that perfect silhouette.
As part of my ongoing search for inspiration I took a trip to see the Balletboyz this week. They’re a sort of ballet equivalent of a boy band…let me put it this way: body fat percentage is not an issue for these boys. (Miine seems to be keeping pace with my age, rather like one of those tracker mortgages.)
Anyway they performed a couple of very exciting works, using ballet movement in a very contemporary way (you can see a preview on their website).
As they tumbled and pirouetted and leapt and created one tableau after another, I thought to myself “I’d like to do that”. But first perhaps I’ll focus on getting my port de bras right.