This is not about eating or swimming, but it is marginally about shopping: A few weeks ago, I signed up for ballet at Maryland Hall.
Those who knew me in elementary school will not be surprised at all by this fact. I started taking ballet when I was about 2 years old and continued until age 12. I was known to do chainé turns down the hallway and stand in fourth or fifth position when I went to the teacher’s desk to ask a question.
That’s me, circa 1987*. I bet you didn’t know I started the chunky highlights trend.
I have done some dance since then (dance team in high school, a ballet class in college, etc.), but it has been a while — as was evident in our first class. It is really weird to attempt something that used to be super easy and realize it is now kind of difficult. Like fifth position, for instance. And my hands and arms are a complete disaster.
Apparently the finger position that was drilled into my head for years is old-fashioned and no longer used (I am only doing it with my left hand in the picture above, perhaps because my arms and hands are awkwardly positioned). That is quite problematic for me. And since I am constantly worrying about my thumbs, my arms always seem to be off — too high, too low, too bent, not bent enough. So I need to practice that.
The first class only had five people, and most of them said they had never taken ballet before or had only taken a few classes when they were 5 years old. There is one girl who looks like an actual ballerina, but only a few people were wearing leotards and tights. I was wearing a T-shirt and workout pants, along with my ballet shoes from roughly 1991 that have my initials written in them in my mom’s handwriting (amazingly, it only took me about 10 minutes to find them). Then, last week, there were seven or eight people and everyone was wearing a leotard and tights, except me.
So, that is how I ended up in a tiny dance studio in a generic business park in Annapolis last night, trying on leotards. I got two black leotards, two pairs of pink tights, a pink wrap sweater and a ballet skirt. They didn’t seem to have any legwarmers, but that is probably a good thing.
Both classes so far have been great — my teacher is awesome; I wish she had been my teacher when I was younger. And not only have I not been sore, my back and hip (both of which are usually old-lady-like) have been feeling much better. We’ll see how this week goes, though. I’m just hoping that if we start on turns, my glasses don’t fly across the room.
*At the time, I was taking ballet and tap at Betty Johnson’s School of Dance, which later became Bender Performing Arts — where “So You Think You Can Dance” alums Lauren Gottlieb and (Season 7 winner) Lauren Froderman took classes.