Friday, August 3, 2007

So, I think I can Dance

I’m really not trying to ridicule my dear boyfriend by adding three Ballet repertoires onto his Netflix list, plus two copies of “The American Ballet Theatre Workout, Level 2” and the movie “Billy Elliot” to be sent as soon as possible to our address, considering that everyone else online who looks at the list will assume that he is the one who’s into Ballet now, but I figured that he owes me one for that time he took goofy pictures of me with a fake mustache on, making me look exactly like Frank Zappa.
So this is to say that I started Ballet again this summer, after two years of not being able to do it, and I am incredibly happy to be dancing again.

The class is held twice a week at the Local Community College here in Charlotte, which makes the price very accessible for students, and it is taught by an old lady called Katherine Horne, who used to dance for the New York City Ballet at the time when George Balanchine was creating his best choreographies, and who yells at us a lot as she holds a cigarette between her fingers. The class is pretty diverse too: must of us used to dance in our teens and are trying to return to the Ballet world with these summer lessons, others are in their forties but can go on Pointe and jump better than the rest of us, a few are very advanced ballerinas, and the rest are guys believe it or not, who against any prejudice have fallen in love with this discipline.
It is hard to explain why some of us get addicted to this, but for me Ballet has always been about expressing a feeling in a language which does not use words, and the truth is that before I danced I had already fallen in love with the stories of the Ballet; magic fairy tales like Swam Lake and Fire Bird, Cinderella, Coppellia and the tragedies that were narrated through pantomime mimic. Taking Ballet is finding out that every joint in your body is there for a reason and that your legs were not only made for walking. In class, the body becomes a mere instrument that has to be polished to be later used in movement and polishing one’s movements is a never ending process that can take years.
Dancing has something very inhumane to it, if you want to put it that way, which has always attracted me towards it: The hips need to turn out against the will allowing one’s legs to open up into a fifth position, the arms rotate and the neck stays long as the spine remains straight. Wearing pointe shoes can lift us up from the ground as the center of gravity changes but it is completely unnatural for the foot to stay this way, and as painful as it feels, the reward we get is to be one step away from reality and higher off the ground, which comes to prove how much of a Stoic I am in my relationship to suffering.

I will write a Ballet entry once a week now, because I want to record my progress and failures, so you are all warned. Maybe after watching all these Dance movies together, I’ll be able to convince my boyfriend to start Ballet too. He already liked the “Billy Elliot” soundtrack at least!

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