Ballet for the Older Dancer… prologue
Today, I decided I am going to get back in shape, not to be a professional dancer again, but to lose the weight I have put on from stress eating. I am also having those gay, turning 30 nerves. So, I got up early and decided to go to 9:00 AM class at Ballet Arizona… This isn’t the first time I have taken adult class, but this is the first time I have felt like a real adult. My body hurt, I am ridiculously out of shape, and haven’t taken class in months… So… here is what was in my dance bag:
Bio Freeze, Foot Roller, Foot Stretcher, Apolla Performance Socks with Traction, Grishko canvas flats, back support brace, leg warmers, warm-ups, ibuprofen and a broken theraband.
Typically, I hate Russian based classes. This was no different, but I have do have a point to this so bear with me. My body was exhausted by dégagés, and I decided to give up by adagio. On the way home I was thinking, “Wow you are out of shape” and “You must have looked ridiculous” and “Don’t embarrass yourself” but then I thought, “No, good for you. At this point in your life, ballet is something you should enjoy. You should just go with it, and help those around you.”
This is when I talked to Bethanne, and realized how limited adult ballet classes are.
So, as I was going home, I realized that the class I had just participated in was not designed for adults at all. Russian based classes are not designed for adults, and it just hurts your body. My hips were on fire and my back was shot. My feet were crampy but that was because I’m out of shape. Anyways, I am straying from what I actually want to talk about…
Okay, here is what you need to find for adult class… Someone who actually teaches and just doesn’t give class. Unfortunately, the teacher who was teaching class was teaching class as if it was company class. I actually don’t think a correction was given at barre. Second, you shouldn’t find a Russian class or go looking for a crazy ballet class… You should be looking for a teacher who is familiar with the somatic approach to ballet. You need to be able to attack the technique without constraining your body or hurting yourself. Thirdly, you need to have all of the tools and support to help you get through class.
Mentally, you have to take ballet class completely different. Normally, when I would take ballet class I would be pushing my turnout, and stretching the heck out of my feet and giving combinations 110%. This time around, my body was so against me dancing this early that I had to really pace myself. Pliés became about the music, tendus became about just articulating my feet and so on. Different combinations I had to think of different things… It was quite different.
Then came center… we did tendus and pirouettes first and then adagio. Adagio was super brutal. Normally, it is my favorite, but this time around in promenade attitude derriere my back started to pinch, and by the elongé my back was completely shot. It could be that the weight gain on the front of my body was pulling and putting more pressure on my knee, and the weight on the back side was causing my leg to not go up… You can’t get your leg up to the back with a back roll pressing down lol… It was pretty intense…
So, now I was just in pain… But, I could have listened to my body early on… I mean at fondus my body was already telling me that my pelvis and lower back were not in a bendy mood. I have gained so much weight this new year that cambré forward is almost impossible. It was really depressing.
Now, onto the positive… So, I have decided to also start writing for the adult dancer…
If you want to join me on this, feel free to follow along.
So, to get in shape I am going to start kind of dieting… I love food, sooooo, it isn’t going to really be about dieting, but more like portion control.
This evening, to prepare myself for the next ballet class I will write the alphabet with my ankle and foot, do theraband exercises, stretch and do some core work. This will be followed by 32 relevés in first and second. Sur le coup de pied exercises. Hip flexor stretches and some turnout exercises. You will probably want to get a pair of appolla performance socks as I do barre in them. If you are following along. They offer all the support of a ballet shoe but lets you feel the floor.
Then I am going to Epsom and lavender oil bath and rub some essential oils on.