First Week of Ballet Austin

Saturday, August 12, 2017

I've talked in some of my recent videos about how my son is attending the Ballet Austin junior intensive this year. It's not his first intensive, but it is his first time at something associated with a professional company. We've worked as hard as we can to prepare him over the summer, even amid all the hardship associated with losing my Mom.

What I wasn't prepared for was the amount of dancing I would be able to do. As it turns out, I have been able to take class everyday in the morning. BUT, even better, is the fact that almost all of the classes have been full of Ballet Austin company members! So the level of the classes has been higher, and of course I have gorgeous dancers to watch each class. It's amazing how much more you push yourself when the level of dancers around you is higher. It's like something automatically clicks in your mind, and a step that I might be too chicken to try, I just naturally go for without thinking about it.

I have a huge amount of existential angst about how I quit dancing. I got to dance professionally with the Alabama Ballet when I was 17. I was very young and immature, and certain things about it were very difficult, but I loved the dancing. I loved being in the studio all day watching amazing dancers. I loved classes that pushed me to my absolute limits, and the fact that when you dance your body to the point of exhaustion, its intuition takes over and things start to work in a different way. I loved going into class in the morning and feeling like I was still somewhat warm from the day before. I didn't have to constantly start over. I didn't want to give that up, but I did. To go to college. I tried to dance in college, but it wasn't the same. I didn't make the progress I made dancing professionally, and it left me continually frustrated. I wanted to go back to my company, but by then I was entrenched in college as well. I quit dancing. I quit, not realizing the finality of that decision and how hard it would be to ever be back in that world.

I know in the eyes of the company members, I'm mostly invisible and insignificant. That's okay. I'm having the time of my LIFE. I feel like I have gotten a second chance. I feel like Cinderella at the ball. I know that as of today the clock struck midnight, because they will go into the big company studio next week, where I can only longingly look through the window and watch. I never took that experience for granted, but I definitely didn't know that stepping away was so forever and permanent.

I don't fully know what I'm doing right now. Why am I getting back in shape? What purpose is this going to fulfill? What good is a triple pirouette on pointe when I'm not preparing for stage? Honestly, I'm past caring. I don't have to know. I just want to go DO. I just want to dance.

One of the best things I have gotten to do is to get new pointe shoes. I haven't had a shoe that I like in a long time. I've been able to make certain shoes work, but I haven't been completely happy with them. So, I took the chance to go to a dance store here and try on a bunch of different brands and styles. I thought I would love Freeds, given everything I have heard about them, but they didn't work for my feet. Maybe if I could go to a Freed store that really had a lot of different makers I would find something, but the stock shoes and the makers I tried weren't a fit. I landed on Suffolk Spotlights. The box, platform, and shank are just right for what I need. When I'm up, I'm up, and I love the support so I can balance in turns. But the sole wasn't wobbly at all for adagio, and they were flexible enough to feel and (I think) look good in allegro.

Week 1 has been amazing! What will week 2 hold? Time will tell, and I'll keep you updated. It was very nice at the end of the day to be able to go get a grassfed burger, too! Ahh, Austin.


Jennifer said...

This sounds like such a special time to immerse yourself in the love of dance! Thank you for sharing your experience. And your new shoes look beautiful!!

Unknown said...

I can absolutely relate to this post so much and honestly, it makes me tear up a bit. I'm so glad that you are having the best time and like you said, who cares what the training is for. Sometimes it's not about that...sometimes it's just about that absolute need to dance :)

I had to leave my dance career when I got very sick and unfortunately, it just took too long to get better. I'm not slowly gaining strength again and dance is coming back into my life but I still hold so much pain because of how I had to leave when I was at the start of my career.

It's hard...but like you, I have this urge/need to dance. It's never let me down :) I hope you keep dancing for as long as you want to and wish you all the best xxx

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