I’ve had a long and busy day, made longer and busier and about a hundred times more exciting by the fact that after work, I hopped on a bus, and had my first ever ballet lesson.
Turns out, ballet’s really fun!
My sister and I, we realised recently, had both always rather wanted to learn ballet. My Mum, we discovered around the same time, had always rather wanted to have daughters (and sons – presumably, though there aren’t any of those going spare in our family – she’s a pretty hardcore feminist) who did ballet. But because we failed to discuss this with each other when J and I were at an appropriate age (J and I assumed that because we didn’t have ballet lessons we ‘weren’t allowed’ them, or ballet wasn’t a thing we did, or some similar nonsense; Mum assumed that because we never asked about having ballet lessons we didn’t want them, which is fairly reasonable) we never actually got around to learning.
And then several months ago, on the tube, I was reading a copy of Stylist, which just goes to show that occasionally picking up copies of the free stuff they give you at tube stops can be worth it. And in this issue was an article about high powered women who do everything, one of whom, a woman called Amanda, recently set up a group called Irreverent Dance. Check them out, they’re awesome.
Essentially, Irreverent Dance (“for adults who don’t know their barre from their bar”) is an LGBTQ friendly, body-positive, inclusive group for adult beginners at various styles of dance, from ballet, to hip hop, to tap, and back again. The course instructor, Manda, was bold, beautiful and – as the group name suggests – irreverent. The square made between our legs when we tried a ‘demi-plie’ was described in two ways. The first is the family-friendly image that kids’ classes get: “You want to make a little window”… or, in a non PG-friendly version, “… think of it as a window of opportunity!”
It went on from there.
Things I have learned from this class:
1. Queer-friendly, body-positive, safe spaces are awesome (someone arrived feeling shaken up for various reasons; she was immediately offered love and bananas. No-one was bitchy about anyone else’s dancing. We all got on really well.)
2. I am not flexible. Oh dear lord, no. I assume that’ll come, and until that day I shall continue to pretend that I am the stick-skinny, super-graceful prima ballerina that I am in my head. Until I see a mirror. (downside of dance studios – one wall is entirely mirrored. Balls.)