Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Last night, I took my first ballet class in fifteen years. It was a combined adult/teenage class taught by a professional dancer. It was challenging. For a lot of the time, I felt like one of the elephants in Fantasia, just as I had feared. But somehow, that was okay. The barre work alone would have sent me crying for my mommy fifteen years ago. I got through it, although I'm sure it wasn't always pretty. I was okay with that too.

For the past 5 years or so, I've had a daily yoga practice. In the beginning, it was a practical decision to get the most bang for my exercise buck, and also to have a form of exercise I could continue to do as I age and my body changes. Over time, it has become about more than toning and stretching, to become the cornerstone of my spiritual practice. Yoga has helped me to be in my body where it is now, to accept the process rather than constantly comparing myself with other people in the room or on the DVD. Yoga has helped me to become more centered in myself.

It was on the mat that I heard the quiet inner voice saying "I'd like to do ballet again." My practical self threw up every roadblock it could think of : expense, time, age, injuries, looking stupid, feeling stupid, not knowing who had adult classes. Practical Me had the upper hand until fate intervened. I ran into a woman who taught dance at my old school and who now has a studio of her own. Two weeks later, I was sweating away at demi plies and releves. My yoga practice had brought me full circle.

Today at lunchtime I heard Orpheus In The Underworld on the classical station. Most people, if they are familiar with it at all, know it as the Can-Can. I danced to it as a twelve-year-old. As I listened today, I could remember the dance - from the skirt swishes in the beginning to the kick line at the end. Alright, maybe I didn't remember every step, but I remembered how it felt to be completely in my body, to be in the moment and having fun. How could I have forgotten how much I loved to dance?

The more interesting question is, if I keep listening, what else can I remember?

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