Ballet is a very long story of progression where virtually every week is an education, if you want it to be. I suppose that is why dance is one of the best things for keeping you young and proven to help with mental wellbeing. Although, my mental wellbeing can sometimes be very challenged by ballet or is it the mirror? or the fact that I am trying to do what should have been in my body since a small child but as it isn’t?, I just have to do the best I can do. Those I watch as they confidently move around the dance studio, perfecting their solos, some very different dancers, the more compact, fleet of foot technician or the long-limbed dancer who draws you into the spectacle or the calm assurance of the dancer who has trained for a long time and that training has given her an awareness of the ballet form, they are just gorgeous to watch. I feel privileged to watch and to learn from much better dancers who never judge and are always encouraging and can give great tips. Also, when worrying about feeling sore and then hear younger dancers, just out of their 20s discussing aches and pains, makes me feel a lot better, I have a few years on them and anyway, we’ll have the summer to recover, this is the last push of the year.
What particularly stood out for me, sitting at the back of the room, is the calmness of the assured dancer. They are at home on stage or at least they make it look as if they are. They are in tune with the music and the music brings its’ calmness too. Some will be in the middle of the music, some will dance to the edge of it, creating accents or an extra breath, but all will be confident. There is also the confidence that muscle memory, built up over years, brings, from long hours spent at the barre, in dance studios. I have learnt much from this calmness and it should, eventually, help with nerves as I train myself to listen to the music, forget about the mirrors and just try and make my dancing a pleasurable experience. After all, I am pretty sure that my dream of dancing for the Royal Ballet has pretty much passed me by or of waking up some morning and so inspired by my heroine, Marianela Nunez, that I can suddenly dance like her, so I intend to enjoy the thrill of every moment that I have to dance. This is no excuse for running and hiding or not pushing yourself, just don’t give in to defeat or not push yourself but when it doesn’t always go right, at least there will be another class next week and there will always be fellow dancers to share with.
This week, there will also be the opportunity for ballet to bring us together socially as the Royal Ballet live cinema relay will be shown on Wednesday 18th May. The ballet is the much talked about, ‘Frankenstein’, the new Liam Scarlett ballet and now, there is a role that I could aspire to!