Thursday, January 26, 2012

Ballet class at 54 -- it's never too late until it's too late

My ballet class Tuesday night was FANTASTIC!!!  I mean PERFECT.  If anyone in the Las Vegas Valley is looking for a good dance school for either children or adults, you must check out The Stage Professional Dance and Fitness Studio in Henderson.  

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
This place is such a find!  Adult ballet is offered only once a week, but I'm going to take as many classes as I can.  Hot hula, belly dancing, cardio dance... they're all offered on a drop-in basis, so you don't have to worry about signing up for 10 or 12 weeks and then missing classes because of your schedule.

So guess where I was after class Tuesday night?

Tub, candles, Louis CK on Netflix on my iPhone--bliss!
Yesterday I was a bit achy, but it was the good kind of achy that reminds you all day that your body is getting stronger.  Now my body is yearning to move and stretch.  I stretched all day yesterday in my cube at work and last night I stood at the kitchen counter doing footwork while putting dinner together. I'm probably going to drive Mike nuts, but he says he digs seeing me so pumped.

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.


JeannetteLS said...

Well. Personally I think this is flat out wonderful, and if it's crazy, here's to crazy. It made me think of the word 'amateur,' which always gets a bad rap. You dance for the love of dance and money hasn't one bit to do with it.

That's why I took up painting. I remembered how I felt when I painted years ago, in school. I just loved how I felt when I did it.

Congratulations there, Linda Lou.

raydenzel1 said...

Debbie mentioned my name came up, in a nice way, during her visit with you. I want to thank you too. I am still blushing! Continued success with your ballet.

Debbie said...



Mimi said...

That is brilliant, I'm so pleased for you!
Reading your post has brightened my day, it really has.
Pity I'm not in Vegas, for more reasons than 1.
The Catholic bit is true! I don't go to Mass, for a long time, but was a a funeral over Christmas, and my kids kept asking me how I knew all the words of the prayers...if anyone said them as often as we were made to, they'd find it impossible to forget them!

Liz said...

Nice!! How fun to read about how pumped you are. Keep it up!