I gave June the address of this blog. We were talking last Friday and somehow I mentioned that I write this blog-diary-thing. But then I told her it wasn’t meant for friends and family. It was only for ‘the world’. It’s easier because I am anonymous. This explanation felt a little lame. June has been very open with me and I have told her some things as well, but always held back. I didn’t like to show weakness. I have no experience; I never had real friends. Charlene was the last and I never opened up to her, it didn’t feel right. But that’s what you do when you want to get close, isn’t it? And the next morning I thought: Why not? We’re friends now. I like her. She seems to like me for some reason. I’m always talking about opening up to people, being brave. Time to do it. It felt like a big step, sending that message. But she responded very sweetly. She understood. (Thank you, June.)
My weight is dropping rapidly. Today I weighed 75kg (165 lb.). I last weighed this little when I was twelve. One pair of trousers is loose at the waist again. My new work trousers that I got four weeks ago are falling down already. I can clearly feel my hip bones. It’s mad. And a little confusing. My head can hardly keep up. I would never have believed that I could lose so much weight eating as much as I do. Mostly between 1900 and 2000 calories per day. And I eat white bread every day, and sometimes chocolate or salami or pizza. I enjoy it. It’s wonderful! I feel thin and beautiful and more and more like I truly want to feel, more and more normal, more and more me. The bit of loose skin under my chin is getting smaller and the line of my jaw is more prominent. I have skinny fingers which I love; I should wear rings now. There are lots of small things I notice about my body that make me supremely happy. I love running my fingers over my ribs before I fall asleep at night. I love doing a port de bras and seeing all the muscles and bones on my neck and chest, my slender wrists. The muscles in my arms are visible, too. And my lower legs and feet looked really lean and strong yesterday, like a real dancer’s legs. I went to the dance shop to try on some ballet slippers. There was a small mirror that only showed the feet and lower legs and for the first time I found my feet truly beautiful. June always says they are, but I never see it. They are much better than they used to be, the instep has developed. But my ankles are not very flexible. It should be enough for pointe, however.
I had wanted to start pointe when I reach a normal BMI at 68 kg. (Only 7 to go!!!) But I also want to be technically ready for it. GFT once said that I didn’t have the necessary strength yet. I can’t get all the way up on relevé on one leg with good alignment. I want to ask her next time and hope she can give me some exercises or criteria to meet. I also want to work through the ‘Perfect Pointe Book’. I bought it years ago and started working on flexibility, but never went further. When I go on pointe, I want to be truly ready. I want to do it right and not acquire bad habits that keep me from progressing later. I don’t want to be like GPS and rush it and look horrible on pointe, just to be able to say ‘I dance on pointe’. Pointe isn’t that important. Just look at a video of a Vaganova graduation class. The things they do in slippers. THAT is ballet. If I could dance like that, I wouldn’t mind never putting on a pointe shoe in my life. Yes, it’s a milestone and it’s part of ballet (for a woman). But it’s not that important. Good technique is important.
I still can’t do decent pirouettes. Mandy said it was my back, I need to use it more. GFT always says I’m too passive and boring, I need more energy. But I throw myself out of turns when I try to use more force. The problem is my alignment in the position. I don’t have a stable retiré, my torso shifts, my relevé isn’t stable. Need to work on that. And jumps. They look good in the mirror from the front, but last week Mandy told me that I move my upper body and it’s true. It doesn’t stay straight. I need to work on that, too. And on getting off the floor from one foot. And on coordination. Sometimes my legs can’t decide whether to do assemblé or sissonne fermée or jeté and do a weird in-between-thing that makes me look like a drunken frog. Oh dear! But no, there are also good things. Franca gave a more complicated jump combination and I was the only one who could do it up to tempo. She praised me. A classmate was astonished to hear that I never danced as a child. She said I looked as if I did. I have the highest extension à la seconde in all but one classes that I take (it’s only about 100 degrees, but still.) The teacher at AS has started paying attention to me. I’m not sure whether I should be flattered. She usually corrects the good ones, the very bad ones and the average ones who think they are very good. I sincerely hope that I don’t come across as arrogant or show-off-y, now that I am more confident and try to be expressive. I hate show-offs and don’t want people to see me that way. I don’t want to show off. I want to dance beautifully and express the beauty and joy of music and ballet. Of course I want to look good and be noticed in a positive way. Yes. I want to be seen (only when I do well. Not so much when I make a fool of myself).
Six years ago I took my first class. In a white cotton top and with pink slippers over black socks (shudder!). At almost 300 pounds. I’ve come so far! Ballet has given me so much. So much joy and passion, so much pain and doubt, so many life lessons. I have put most of my energy, time and money into the pursuit of this elusive art. It was so worth it. It still is. I can enjoy the present successes, work on the present problems and look forward to the future. I have a vision of myself, lean and strong and beautiful, in a white leotard with a little skirt, whirling through a studio in a series of fast piqués on pointe, barely skimming the floor, flying, becoming one with the music. Pure energy, joy, love. Life.