Thursday, March 29, 2012

Monday ballet

"Absolute Adult Beginner Ballet". What a great name for a class. I wasn't a ballerina when I was little, nor was I a good dancer. I find it really hard to follow steps, and my rhythm isn't consistent whenever I try to concentrate on it…this is exactly why beginner ballet is so much fun. I started last year in a class with women ranging in age from early 20's to late 60's in a studio overlooking the city. My friends were a little surprised about my hobby of choice, but it turns out it was a grand idea. I like the rigid structure, the connection with intricate parts of the body, the discipline, the intensity, the tradition, the classical music, the costumes, the french language and the overall "je ne sais quoi" of the practice. Did I mention the costumes? leg warmers…après-ballet layers… lovely…

The practice is undeniably an aesthetically pleasing art form. The ballet shoes, the rows of mirrors…that pale pink colour is the epitome of "pretty". Even the stretching along the bar at the beginning and end of practice is beautifully ceremonial. It's intentional, slow and gracious. You have to concentrate on the tiniest of movements and poise at the same time attempting to be graceful, light, and strong. It reminds me a bit of yoga. The body awareness, breath, muscle control, flexibility and balance practiced in yoga certainly help.

Oh and the music. Classical music brings me to another era. I think practicing ballet is offering me structure and grounding - classical rules and inflexibility in what is right. I guess it's a contrast to the rest of my flowey, random week.

I'm now dropping-in to a Monday nights at GOH Ballet (a classical studio on 8th and Main in a beautiful old building) to an adult beginner class. I'm looking forward to my Mondays at 7 to hop into my classic ballet outfit, my warm-up layers, and then working really hard in a delicate and silly manner (only silly because I am such a novice. The teacher was offering me a lot of "good trys" with a smile last week).  My arms are all over the place, my steps are completely wrong most of the time and my jumps look ridiculous. But that's okay. It's a contrast within a contrast - working on something so rigid and classic that it makes me feel free because I know exactly what I'm supposed to be doing. Even if it is just for an hour and a half, once a week.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

wake up to yoga

 Image: Lyn Marshall - "Wake Up to Yoga" 

bright sunny morning 
mustard, orange and gold
spine soft
breathe breathe