Ten years ago this week we were still smelling the smoke from the Pentagon in our backyard, still having to keep the news off so we didn't have to explain it to six year old SC, still trying to deal with the whole thing.
It went on that way for weeks, I think.
So mid-month, it was wonderful when my dear friend the ballet teacher called me and told me she wanted to start an adult ballet class on evening a week at the local rec center and did I want to be a participant?
The class was small and not in a real ballet studio. We had a mirror, but no barre--we used chairs.
I didn't have ballet clothes--I hadn't been in a ballet class since college, and then only briefly. At that first class I wore loose pants, a t-shirt and socks.
I had never had a lot of ballet training--briefly at some point in elementary school, and then a few months in college, where most of the students were REAL dancers and I hadn't been able to keep up. But I've loved ballet all my life, and I knew a lot of the steps and the terms.
What I vividly remember about that first class is how good it felt. How I could feel myself smiling in a way I hadn't smiled in days, maybe weeks. How it took me away from everything into a happy place of my own.
I got real ballet shoes and leggings. We continued the class there for several years. No matter what else I did, I was there every Thursday night. I broke my foot, and had to take a break one winter, but aside from that, I was every week. I'd never done that with an exercise class before.
Patrons at the library started asking me if I'd lost weight. I hadn't--but I was standing taller and so I looked pounds thinner. And I'd probably gained a bit of muscle, which looks thinner!
We have had to move class several times over the years. Once Lynne didn't have class for about a year, and I tried taking another class. The teacher was awful and I wound up dropping the class. Lynne got a new space, and I was back and loving it.
I will never be much of a dancer. Not flexible enough, not built enough like a ballerina. I have breasts and hips.And fairly flat feet--no nice ballerina arch, though years of ballet have actually given me a little more arch than I used to have.
I SUCK at turns. Always have, probably always will. But I feel the music as I dance probably more than anyone in the room--I hear the steps in the notes.
And every class has that moment I've talked about before, when it all comes together for me. When music and movement flow and all is golden.
Went back to class yesterday for the first time since early June--we had a summer recess--and today I needed 3 Advil for the aches in muscles that had forgotten this work.
But yesterday in class, all I could do was smile. The sun shone in on me through the window, the sweat poured down my face, and all I could do was smile.
We did the slow opening floor exercise--the adagio--to the strains of "Oh, What A Beautiful Morning!"
And it was.