Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Adult Ballet 101: Part Deux

So I need to tell you about the “dance studio”.

My classmates and I were instructed to go ahead into the slightly humid studio room and find a place at the barre. The room had an eight foot ceiling minus the height of the slightly raised floor. There would obviously be no jumping in this room.

The floor was unfinished chip board; a strong but low-grade plywood. The barre was a closet rod that was mottled gray from lots of use and human hand oil. Eew… And the mirrors were so smudged that my reflection from pelvis to knee was obscured and blurry (thank goodness…it’s a real “problem” area…).

Has my germ intolerance level increased since my youth?

I have a friend who contracted a HORRIBLE case of athlete’s foot from a studio floor where they were encouraged to dance barefoot. The pills to cure her cost $6 a pop… I am sure this room is full of bacteria and fungus, and I don’t have insurance.

So the instructor finally came in to begin class. We’ll call her Sam.

Remember how I said that I reconsidered my career in dance after deciding that there are some aspects of the dance world that I was unwilling to put up with? Sam epitomizes my reasoning. Let me explain…

There is a developed personality prevalent in the dance world (especially by the “retired” dancers who now teach, whereby you are sensitive (due to years of bad body image and eating disorders), defensive (having to constantly battle bossy dance directors and your place in the company), catty (so that you can bad talk the principle dancers you are jealous of), loud (because you are a “creative person” and therefore MUST be boisterous), egotistical (because you used to be 85 pounds and could do the splits), and talkative (because you have a captive audience who has PAID to be there…).

I forgot about all this…

Some of the greatest teachers have had decent careers, and have retired to teach the up and coming generation their skills. Then there are the teachers who are slightly bitter, retired dancers who never really made it, and who sometimes act as surrogate stage mothers.

The class is supposed to go for and hour and a half. We spend an hour “dancing” and half and hour listening to every medical malady Sam has ever endured, including the lawsuits that have ensued.

Sam is a nice person, but I just can’t tolerate the “dance personality”’ like I used to. She tells A LOT of stories where the punch line is when she tells some one to “Shuuuuut uuuup! Quitcher whining!” We all laugh politely and silently beg her to move on. I have to keep myself from rolling my eyes constantly, my eyes being big and somewhat protruding…it would be noticeably sarcastic and cheeky.

I know I am sounding really negative here. I’m really easy going, I promise. I only think briefly about the negative stuff, and then move on. Sometimes I blog about it, but only if I think it’s good for a laugh.

The class is OK. It is slow. I am used to something a little higher caliber, but my body isn’t. This class is the perfect level for my now un-athletic body. I can barely touch my toes. I can barely jump high enough to get my toes pointed underneath me before I plop back down on the plywood. Although the class doesn’t make me sore in general, there are apparently muscles that are only used in ballet and in nothing else. Those muscles hurt bad.

I would encourage any of you who are dreaming of being a ballerina a little bit to come and join me. I would love some company. I will even make you a little ballet skirt to match the one I made for myself. It is only semi-see-through with a flocked rose and leopard pattern on it. It sounds way tacky to describe it like that but I promise it’s way chic. It’s yours…if you’re not busy on Wednesday nights…just keep in mind that if you don’t come, you will be mad at the fact that your body could have been as slim and sinuous as mine (will be…).

10 comments:

Yolanda said...

Ahh...the good old days...when the biggest thing on me were my boobs...(which proved to be my downfall.) I took ballet for YEARS--four times a week--a class for technique, a class for pointe, a class for performance, a class for bar. But, as those nice "b"s turned into those nice "c"s (,mind you I haven't left grade school yet) the instructors comments were always the same..."well, you are certainly... DEVELOPING." After three years of weigh-ins (for my boobs) it just got to be a little much. So i moved on in my life...look out Paula Abdul...I can do any kind of jazz dance known to mankind. I even have a college freshman "final exam" for a jazz class ON TAPE.! (I love to play it now, because it proves that I really was 5 foot 8 inches and weighed 115 pounds!!)
Any time you want a dance partner...let me know! You provide the skirt, and I will provide the classic pink leg-warmers!!

Carly said...

Okay, I seriously want to come.
A) for the skirt
B) for another glimpse at Sam (who was my teacher when I was little and who I have vivid memoris of)
C) to get my fat arse in shape.
Seriously. I am coming. Where do I sign up?

Carly said...

DANG! I just realized that I AM busy on Wednesday nights until 8. DANG DANG.

Carrie Ann said...

You're in luck...class doesn't start until 8.30...thought you'd get out of it huh? I'll ask tonight if people can join mid-session (we've only had two classes)...

Suzie Petunia said...

Not to be a dance snob or anything, but you're dancing on PLYWOOD? I didn't realize how good we had it growing up. But, I still have dreams (that border on "nightmares") about Mimi Connell (our old chain-smoking ballet teacher). I have gotten to the point in these dreams where I am old enough that she doesn't actually have any expectations for me, so I don't feel so self-conscious about dancing for her. But, still...why do I dream about things like that? I wish I could dance with you again.

Take your nifty anti-bacterial wipes and clean off the barre...

mo said...

Ahh, it takes me back to the days when I took ballet lessons from a lady with a long ponytail named "Cookie" and we met in her madeover garage studio in Woods Cross, Utah....except her floor was tile and I don't remember if the barre was clean or not. I didn't think about that at age 8. Personally, if your instructor continues with the obnoxious stories, I think a little eye-rolling might be appropriate. Will you make me a skirt like yours?

Suzie Petunia said...

Carrie,
Email me the email address you use. Please. :)

Suzie Petunia said...

And Todd's. Pretty please. :)

Marcy Dibbleblotts said...

and email me your email address too-- so we can discuss our lunchy poo, etc plans. my email is on my profile page.

Sarah Marinara said...

If I was anywhere near Utah County I would SO be there with you on Wedneday nights... and it would be VERY diffifult for me to not roll my eyes and be cheeky... as a matter of fact, I know I would do so. But, dang! Wouldn't that be fun???