As I promised in my previous blog last week, I will write about my first lesson.
It was a trial adult lesson to be exact.
I remember standing at that door in November 2017, Wednesday, at 7.15 PM. It was dark outside. Bayadere seemed to be part of a school building, the entrance door was closed, I rang the bell and looked into the corridor. I felt excited, and at the same time, I was nervous.
I knew exactly why I was standing there, and yet I asked myself: what am I doing, I’m almost 60, I have no particular background in music, ballet nor aptitude for this beautiful form of art. This is an entirely new world I’m stepping into right now, what will be left of my ideas and concepts, only based on persons (Nureyev), books and strong feelings about the Russian ballet tradition, how will this reality check payout? I knew I was now putting all my expectations to the test: is this really what I want? Is this my place to be? Or am I fooling myself?
Well, I can only explore the unknown by making that first step. This is what I wanted. The magic right then was in the doing.
I remember a woman of middle age entering the corridor after I rang the doorbell, she welcomed me and guided me to the dressing room. I heard piano music coming out of a place next door.
I expected a mixed group of adults in the dressing room, but it turned out that I was the only male student. Oh yes, the group was mixed in other ways, by age! Some of the students in their twenties and thirties, the oldest 50. Some of the adults sitting in the dressing room turned out to be the parent of the young ballerina’s, training.
And at 7.30 PM a door swung open and about 8 girls came chit chatting through the door, followed by Lyda. Young ballerina’s, laughing and talking, dressed in black leotards, white tights, and white ballet shoes.
As Lyda showed up, she welcomed me, showed me the place where I could change. There was a separate section in the dressing room for the male dancer.
After changing my clothes, we went to the dance floor. Me on my socks.
In entering the classroom I saw the adult students, standing at the barre, each of them doing warming up exercises.
I suddenly felt immersed in a new world and was very keen on taking the next step.
In this first lesson, I learned a few things about the correct placement and how to hold the barre. Ballet techniques I remember most of the first lesson are the complexities of the posture, being aware and able to move your muscles separately, in contraction and extension. Shoulders down, rib cage up. And of course the positioning of the feet. In ballet, all movements are performed with the legs turned out.
My fellow students were completing their exercises with such ease! And look at me, I was just a beginner.
At the end of the lesson one of the students clapped her hands and told me that my life would never be the same again now I had performed my first ballet exercises. Well, how true this is!
I felt blessed with my teacher Lyda, she really seems to know what she is doing! And she is a terrific coach!
I realize that much of what I am writing about deals with emotion, my emotion. I feel ballet is a way in which I can handle my feelings in a positive and uplifting manner, and combined with my deep urge to move I can use every inch of my body: ballet is truly an art of expression.
And maybe that’s the deepest of all my desires: to express myself entirely.
I found the next sentence on de site of the Heritage School of Classical Ballet from Hope Miller in Dallas USA; it covers perfectly what I just said:
“We teach Russian technique which develops emotional expressiveness, strictness of form, and an energetic manner of performance.”
See you next week!