1. How did you first get involved with ballet and what attracted you to it as an adult?
I started ballet classes as a 9 year old (considered a late starter for a child, I guess!) because I was always dancing around the house whenever music was playing, and it took a few years for mum to convince my conservative dad to allow me to take up ballet. For many years, ballet was my greatest passion but I slowly lost my passion for it when I moved overseas for studies in my late teens, not finding the same type of support I had from the teachers I grew up with.
After I completed my RAD Intermediate level I hung up my ballet shoes, thinking that maybe ballet was too technical and that there was nothing more I would gain from it. I looked to other forms of dance such as Lyrical and Contemporary to continue fueling my passion for dance. While I enjoyed them, I noticed that many teachers seem to view adult dancers as seeking recreation only, rather than continuous improvement.
One year ago, when I turned 40, I was persuaded to join a ballet class ‘just for fun’. I thought I’d give it a go for a week or two – I didn’t expect to be hooked again before the first class was over. In a large part, it was because the teacher, Tibor, who taught that class paid a lot of attention to technique, pushed us to our individual limits, worked us very hard but also took time to acknowledge it when we did something well. In that short time, I was reminded of how addictive the quest for perfection and the thrill of achievement can be.
2. How many classes are you currently taking per week?
Although I started out with 1, then 2 classes a week, I have been taking 5 classes a week for more than 10 months now. I decided that to regain my strength and technique, I’d need at least 3 classes a week. The thing about ballet is that it’s so addictive – unlike the gym, I never have to talk myself into going to ballet classes. In fact, I count down the days and hours to each class. We work very hard from the moment we start our first exercise to the moment we do our reverence, but it’s never a chore.
3. What do you see as your biggest challenge as an adult ballet student? [Read more…]