Though I stood at a bar last Saturday night, it's been almost 20 years since I stood at a barre so even I was wondering, am I crazy for starting ballet classes again at age 54? Will I remember anything I learned all those years ago? Will I be able to keep up? And most important: Is the instructor certified in CPR?
I found out right away that this wasn't a beginner's class; it was clearly geared toward someone who had prior training, no matter how long ago. But no worries. The terminology--plie, tendu, degage, grand battement, pas de bourree, developpe, jete--came back to me no problem. I imagine Catholics who've been away from the church feel the same way when they hear prayers they learned in childhood; it all comes back to you. Ballet class was kind of like my Catholic school, and my old dance teachers were as forbidding as nuns.
I always loved barre work and did pretty well considering it's been a long time since my legs got that kind of workout. Almost instinctively my body knew what to do. The floor work was more challenging; there's nothing to hold onto. My legs started tiring and it took a little more concentration to remember the sequence of steps. And I'll be honest--sometimes I'd catch myself in the mirror and wanted to laugh out loud at my lack of coordination. Seriously, if you could have seen me, you'd have peed your pants.
But who cares? There were only five women in the class and I want to say four of us were on either side of 50. One woman was really good--clearly she's kept up with it over the years--and the rest of us held our own. But the beauty of being in dance class at this age is there's no sense of competition; there are no show-off girls to secretly hate. We're all there for the pure enjoyment of it and because of that, in many ways ballet at this age is a lot more fun than when I was a teenager.
Our teacher, Tracey Cutler, who also owns the studio, was excellent--upbeat, supportive and patient. She has quite the bio; she was classically trained at the School of American Ballet in NYC and has had leading roles in The Phantom of the Opera, Cats, Camelot, and A Chorus Line. All of the instructors at her studio are pros with equally impressive credentials.
|Tracey Cutler in one of her two gorgeous studios|
So guess where I was after class Tuesday night?
|Tub, candles, Louis CK on Netflix on my iPhone--bliss!|
I am totally pumped; I was so pumped I couldn't get to sleep Tuesday night. I am so glad I did this! I hope that if there's something you want to do, you follow through and make it happen. At least give it a try. And if you're in Vegas and are looking to dance, you know where to go.