“The more you lose yourself in something bigger than yourself, the more energy you will have.”
~ Norman Vincent Peale
Call it serendipity caught in a moment of insanity when I found myself responding to a call for sign ups (Thanks, Amina!) to a dance class in Alabang. It’s not your typical hiphop-session-at-the-gym sort but a proper ballet class for adults.
I’ve never had formal training in ballet, you see. Not even a trial class when I was little. And now, just when I’m already in my last year as a thirty-something, I up and went to learn it (oh, boy. I later learned it’s not an easy task, haha). Yes, I admit that the idea sounds a little crazy. It certainly did to me esp when the initial excitement died down and I had the chance to really think about what I had decided to do. I was intimidated by the fact that I know my movements lean more toward the stiff and awkward kind plus that I’m not your typical girl-y girl. Can you imagine me wearing leotards and, er, pink? Heck, I was even a little self-conscious when I dropped by Capezio in Alabang Town Centre to buy a pair of ballet shoes. But I also know that I love to dance since I was a kid and one of my guilty pleasures is watching those dance movies, haha.
Despite my being intimidated, I was decided. I was determined to show up at the start of the May classes. I’m going to push my skinny-skeletal body to adapt to the gracefulness that learning ballet could bring. I will not listen to the voice that’s telling me I won’t be able to keep up, or that my bones and muscles are too old to learn ballet, or that people will make fun of me when they find out. (Side note: believe me, I actually did get a message questioning my choice to take up ballet at my age, or a reaction that basically told me that I’m not a good dancer, sigh. BUT I’m grateful to good friends who are quite happy for me when they heard the news and are supportive.)
The 2-hour adult ballet class is taught by Teacher Nina Anonas at the Alabang Country Club. It’s composed of barre and core exercises. I was the only one in the class who have had zero training but Teacher Nina was quite patient and helpful. First thing she requested from me tho was to ditch my loose top (preferred that I just wear my sports bra) but I insisted on wearing a thin tank over it as a compromise, haha. Best bit about the class, no one made you feel bad for not knowing, in fact, all were quite supportive!
My first class was all about the basics like establishing a proper turn out, executing battement tendu, demi-plié, sauté, elevé, relevé, cambré at the barre. Then there are core exercises designed to develop strength in the abdominal section and legs. Of course, there are exercises thrown in to increase flexibility, and improve how you execute jumps.
“Dance is a way to find yourself and lose yourself.. all at the same time.”
When I came across this quote, I couldn’t agree more. With just one class alone, it had been refreshing to be focused on this one thing that had me not thinking of what’s outside the door or what’s happening beyond the walls of the dance studio. I had been immersed in something that’s like a struggle of sorts between that person in the mirror and myself. I had to be mindful of what I was doing, and how I was doing it — that no one else can do it for me. Come to think of it, it’s been a long time since I felt that way — somewhat fully connected with my mind and my body as I was learning how to dance ballet. It’s a great, albeit exhausting, experience.
Like what Mr. Peale said (altho I know his words may refer to a much grander symbolism), I had lost myself in something bigger than ‘self’ and it was exhilarating — learning and welcoming something new in my life had given me the energy to see it through, with some to spare plus an appetite to do more. Yes, I was dying by the end of the core exercises but I left the class with a determination that I will do those exercises at home to gain the power I need for the next class.
Yes, I’m quite decided that I will continue attending ballet classes for as long as my health allows it. And, yes, if you live in the south and would be interested to take up ballet, message me! Maybe, if your schedule permits it, you can join us!
Do you dance? Or perhaps are you engaged in an activity which fully connects your mind, body and soul? Do share!
P.S. Leather ballet shoes at Capezio (ATC) retails for Php 1,900.00.