Sunday, January 27, 2019

A few new beginners joined the class last Monday. It results in a big group. Some are really new, while others practiced ballet as a child. When I look at those new faces, I involuntarily think about my beginnings at Bayadere, on November 1, 2017. When I came to that door at Bayadere, hopeful, and a bit nervous, dressed in sweatpants and a t-shirt. And rang the doorbell.

But let me first tell you something about the period that preceded this buzz of the doorbell.
As a young man, I was quite good at running and in good shape. But that good shape steadily declined during my study time, and so on after my marriage and the birth of my children. I came into the rush hour of life, busy shaping my life and family, raising children, working hard and building a career. Somehow I paid less attention to my ideals. Others would say that I was growing up. Finally.

At the age of 50, I reached a turning point. My children were growing up, my career was seriously in crisis, and I had health problems. I wanted to change. And return to my roots. It was time for Me again.

So 10 years ago, as a 50-year-old, I made a serious decision to start exercising again.
I bought an old racing bike and started cycling again. Every day I took long strolls with my German Shepherd. This way I laid a new foundation, my physical condition improved, as did my mental resilience. 
At that time my daughter joined jazz ballet classes; this challenged me to deal with that old urge to practice ballet myself. I started looking around for a ballet school, looking for a place to start as an adult. But that seemed impossible. 
I needed an alternative. And I followed that other young boy's dream.

Besides Nureyev, I, as a young man, was also intrigued by Cassius Clay aka Mohammed Ali. The dancing boxer. Mohammed Ali was an athlete with an attitude, with a mission and later on a role model.
Put briefly, I could not find a ballet school, and I went looking for a decent gym. 
I found a boxing school that suited me and I did not leave there anymore. I picked up one of the most intensive sports I know, boxing, later on, kickboxing and cross fit. In the last 10 years, I spent 15 hours per week on these various sports.
My physical and mental condition improved enormously in the past 10 years. I even now give training classes in boxing and cross fit. 
That is how I fought myself back up from that valley of my setbacks at 50. 

I hung a poster in my study from Mohammed Ali, saying:
"Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion. "
Yet this poster has a post-it memo glued on it with the words: ballet. It is there, already 10 years

My ballet ambitions continued to gnaw.
In the past years, I regularly searched the Internet for a ballet school, because that gnawing feeling did not go away. And amongst other schools, I stumbled across Bayadere. This ballet school uses the Vaganova method of training. But no classes for me, it seemed ballet was not meant for me. 
Later on, I found Bayadere on Facebook and liked the site. I received updates from Bayadere occasionally. Then, 1 ½ year ago, suddenly there was that notice inviting adults to enroll in adult ballet classes.
I almost couldn’t believe this was real. My opportunity to really start with ballet! 
And after some serious injuries, I also knew that I could not keep boxing at my level.
I longed for a more controlled way of moving, exercising.  
So I signed in. On November 1, I was standing there at that door, ringing the doorbell.
For a trial lesson.