There Is No Fitting Title For This Post

There are a few things I want to talk about.

Firstly: Recently, I have noticed that my reaction to other bloggers’ accounts of how they progressed in ballet, ‘felt like flying’, ‘just let go and danced’ etc. was one of annoyance and jealousy. Somehow, I want to be the only one who loves ballet so much, who feels a deep connection and reacts with emotion to music and movement. I want to be the best, the most dedicated and inspired adult ballet student in the whole world. That’s silly, but it is how I reacted. I’m actually jealous of others who have the same experience. Quite absurd. As if it would take something away from my own joy if others share it! I should be glad for them, but I’m not. I dislike this about me.

I’m sure others do, too. But I MUST be honest. No more trying to seem who I am not.

Secondly: I have been reading Tolkien again. The Elves fascinate me most, and I wish there was more written about them. Some of them feel like people to me and I long to know more about them. Sadly, I feel ashamed to admit this. I don’t want to be seen as a nerd or Tolkien fan, really, especially now that there are new films and new fans all around. And liking the Elves could so easily be misunderstood as liking the ‘Film Elves’ with their stupid ears and behavior. That’s why I never speak about Tolkien, even if the stories are often on my mind. This weekend, I took out the History of Middle-Earth again and read about customs of marriage and rebirth among the Noldor. I wish we had hundreds of years to live and a body that hardly aged! So many things are lost to us with our brief youth and short lives, things like strength and speed for dancing, or beauty. And time seems to run faster and faster every day.

Thirdly (this has several aspects): I have been taking two ballet classes back to back on Mondays and Tuesdays for a few months now. Franca on Monday and Mandy on Tuesday. That makes it seven to eight classes per week now… Mandy even lets us attend the basic class after the Tuesday class for free. That is a 105 minute class, followed by a short break and another 90 minutes. It lasts until ten o’clock and I regularly reach the end of my strength on Tuesdays, especially now that I do most jumps. In a way it makes me feel good and proud of myself for working as hard as I can. It also made me realize that I am now quite fit! A few people get very out of breath or can’t lift their legs anymore, but that doesn’t happen to me. I eventually lose the strength to do relevé or push off the floor properly, though. But even after a hard Franca barre, I don’t feel completely spent anymore like I used to, or the strength comes back quickly after strenuous exercises. I only realized this recently, but it made me very happy.

When I was finally in bed last Tuesday, I couldn’t sleep because from the shoulders down, my whole body ached with a mixture of soreness from the day before and soreness from that day’s classes. Hips, feet, thighs, back, flanks. In a fit of motivation, I had done Pilates core exercises on Monday before class, too. Wednesdays are hardest because the soreness and tiredness of the last few days usually catch up with me by then. After that it gets easier. But I’m not complaining. I choose to do this and deep down, I love even the pain and weariness.

But last Tuesday in the middle of the second class, I had a ‘moment’. Mandy used a beautiful CD by Alla Reznik. She plays in a way that just inspires me to move. The exercises were very slow, which makes them difficult. But the music just carried me through the fondus or whatever it was that seemed so hard. And in the middle of my tiredness and pain I felt that I could continue to dance for hours. Music would take the place of my will and give me strength when my body had nothing left. There was a powerful certainty to that thought and it left me a little breathless. ‘I never want to stop’, I knew.

Fourthly: I took two classes yesterday to avoid being at home and wanting to overeat. I had my cheat meal when I got home, but couldn’t really enjoy it. The first few bites were wonderful: Finally, eating what I had longed for all week. Then came the first signs of fullness, but I continued. After all, the food was there and I had this one chance to eat it. But it doesn’t taste as good when you’re not hungry, and worrying ‘will I be able to eat it all?’ while you eat doesn’t make it better. And then, when I’m really full, there is immediate regret. It is hardly ever worth it. And yet I can’t resist, the tension is too strong. So I thought: ‘ok, that’s done. And tomorrow, everything will be back to normal.’ I had a good morning, reading Tolkien and eating porridge. Then class with the Gorgeous French Teacher. And then on the way home, an impulse to visit the bakery. I debated. I lost. At home I debated again and almost won. ‘I want to be thin. I want to improve in ballet. I want to look beautiful. I want to feel free and good about myself. I want to eat bread and butter.’ I ended up eating, too much, but not all the things I’d bought. It was a partial failure. Or a partial success, if you want to be positive.

Now the weekend is almost over. I’m looking forward to sleeping and dreaming tonight, to ballet classes and being too busy to eat. I am determined to publish this post.

About annalienor

Lover of beauty, adult ballet student, deliberate creator wannabe.
This entry was posted in Ballet, Health, Moment, Music and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to There Is No Fitting Title For This Post

  1. The Dancing Rider says:

    Oh, how I hear you. And I, equally envious of those who can take more than one class a month. Yet I feel no less like a ballet lover, as untalented as I may be. I think it is normal to feel jealous over others’ progress sometimes. (I know I can’t stand hearing my riding instructor praise my two peers all the day, whilst I get very little, despite how “hard I work”.) Or reading all the dancers’ blogs, dancer’s who are in their 30’s, maybe early 40’s, and wishing I could be THAT age, instead of being ancient. I applaud everyone’s efforts, and successes, but sometimes it is a bitter pill.

    I say “partial success” with the food events. And I believe success in some of the areas where you are looking (eating) is always a challenge for the duration. Success in ballet (though I feel completely unfit to even give an opinion, but, sadly, I’ll give one nonetheless) comes from hard work, true. But one cannot force success, either, by wearing oneself out. I did this in skating, and it didn’t work for me.

    It is wonderful that you are gaining in strength and stamina! This is huge!

    The dance “moments” to which you refer are, for me, even in my lowly combinations, what it is all about. Above all, I can FEEL that you are a dancer, through and through.

    Love your writing, love your entries. I know I do not know you in real life, but I appreciate your honesty and I can understand the feelings about which you write.

  2. annalienor says:

    Thank you so much, especially for the last two paragraphs. *HUG*

    I can only imagine how frustrating it must be if you love ballet with all your heart, but money and age keep you back. But please don’t keep saying you’re untalented or a bad dancer, you’re only a beginner! All beginners look a little awkward at first, it’s expected. And being older, you have had more time to practice habits of movement and posture, so it’s going to be more difficult to adopt the unnatural movements of ballet. But it can be done. You can always improve. And judging by your pictures, you do!

    I have found that reading about technique (a book I can recommend is ‘Classical Ballet Technique’ by Gretchen Ward) and watching ballet (balletoman.com) helps enormously to develop an inner picture of ballet, so that it seems more familiar and all you do is try and follow your picture.
    There is a lady in one of my classes who just turned 70. She started dancing at 45 and can now do splits and a whole barre on demi-pointe. Her body is the exact opposite of the ballet ideal, but her passion makes up for it. She works as a cleaner to pay for her classes and says it keeps her fit.

    • The Dancing Rider says:

      Thank you. I have that book! It is very helpful to me. My stamina and strength are very good, as is my flexibility considering! I feel optimisitc and am doing what I can. I will go to the site you recommend as well! I may be an eternal beginner, but the feeling is no less! I’ve had it since I was little.

  3. RO says:

    I can relate to this. I am equally jealous of all those adult beginners out there who have the time/money/liberty/opportunity to follow multiple classes of classical ballet a week, participate in awesome classes and follow masterclasses from talented dancers.
    For me, ballet is something I do because I also have deep love for it. It makes me feel good and it keeps me happy.

    We all have our reasons, we all have our own version of our ballet life and story. I like your honesty, it’s something not a lot of people dare to be.

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