Ballet is surprisingly difficult. It’s surprising because the movements look so deceptively simple – who would’ve thought that moving your legs forward, diagonally forward, and back could be so difficult? Although it’s only difficult to do it correctly, with good form. I find myself concentrating hard on keeping my stomach tucked in, tailbone pointed down, weight in the heels, and legs straight… and I find myself perspiring, despite the fact that I’m just standing there, almost barely moving!
It’s my third week (and third day, since I’m only doing this once a week) of Absolute Beginner ballet, and we’ve started to do larger travelling movements across the room today – chassé. It was fun, chaotic, and absurd. Most of the girls were clearly still fairly shy absolute beginners (myself included), and the teacher had to get us to move to one side of the room, prompt us to get ready to chassé sideways across the room, four at a time. And there was a lot of messy, uncertain shuffling into and out of lines… some lines with five or six girls, others with only two.
I really enjoyed the chassé though… I like jumping, galloping movements… large, joyful movements that remind me of the freedom and joy of being a child. In my mind, I imagine myself jumping across a grassy field under a beautiful blue sky.
My favourite part of my three classes so far, have always been the petit saut (if that is what it is called. The teacher hasn’t named it yet) part of the class… where he puts on a cute little bouncy song, and we bounce bounce bounce bounce in first position, then do a little jump little jump little jump little jump (all in first position), after several repetitions of this, sometimes in groups (one half of the class will start first, and the second half follows in the next section of the music), we will then repeat this but in second position: we bounce bounce bounce bounce in second position, then do a little jump little jump little jump little jump (all in second position). I always end up with a silly grin on my face… I really love this bouncing and little-jumping that we’re doing… it feels a bit absurd, and yet really fun, and it’s like I’m a kid again, jumping on a bed (an imaginary trampoline)… but this time, encouraged to do so, instead of being asked to stop.
That’s what ballet does for me: it makes me feel young, and brings me back to my childhood.