Childhood dreams of being ballerinas are being fulfilled through Ballet BC’s Young Patrons group. Vancity Buzz writer Angie Holubowich describes her experience of a recent Ballet 101 class.
If I were to describe my body, the term ballerina just doesn’t come to mind. Although I can out-hike many of my friends and my flexibility is far superior to some people I know half my size, the concept of a ballet class scares me.
So on a Thursday evening, the chances of me pulling on a pair of rainbow stockings and my hippie pants and heading to a professionally taught ballet class are pretty much nil. Yet here we are. I was equipped with two cans of coconut water and a lingering voice in the back of my head telling me, “you can do this, it is just like a yoga class.”
Ballet BC features a unique experience once a year where patrons can participate in a 90-minute, Ballet 101 class with the professionals. Every day the members of Ballet BC take a class to warm up and condition their bodies and generally prepare them for the physical demands placed on a body that does ballet for a full time job. This class is a mere taste of that.
This class is held at Scotiabank Dance Centre in one of the professional dance rooms, walls lined with mirrors and overlooking the downtown core. Our teachers, Racheal Prince and Gilbert Small are total pros. Remarkably more approachable and far less standoffish that you might expect them to be.
In the corner of the room sits a pianist equipped and ready to serenade our warm up with live show tunes and Top 40 tracks. This was by far my favorite part of the evening, it is hard not to smile when doing ballet to the whimsical tunes of Cabaret.
Racheal and Gilbert guide us through our positions and poses. From the arabesque to the deboulé, we are guided to point our toes, stretch our muscles and move fluidly to the music.
My awkward self-conscious inner voice soon starts singing along with the piano and I realize something about those surrounding me. Even those incredibly skinny girls can be inflexible and awkward and out of shape. Toes pointed to the ceiling I feel a revived sense of confidence and gusto. Until of course I attempt to frolic and jump across the room like a gazelle across the majestic plains and nearly bite the dust.
Pushing outside your personal boundaries may set off every warning bell in your psyche, but pushing past those feelings for the deeper beauty within is truly where we find our gifts.
Would I participate in the class again? Most definitely yes. Would I wear my brightest stockings and frolic with more confidence? Absolutely.
Ballet 101 is exclusively for Ballet BC Up members. More information here.
Photo Credit: Michael Slobodian, Yvonne Chew.