So my schedule being thrown off by sick cat + Halloween has led to… taking more ballet classes than usual? Ok
(Our kitty is doing well by the way!)
The main studio I go to has free class day on the first of every month. Last month it fell on a Wednesday, so I just didn’t have to use up a check on my class card. This month it was on a Thursday, so I decided to skip the hip hop class at the Y and do a free ballet class instead. The studio I go to has 3 locations around town, and there was a class that fit my schedule at a different location than the one I usually go to, that actually wasn’t much further away. So off I went!
You know that scene in Center Stage where Jody goes to a broadway dance studio to take a class in “anything but ballet”? Of course you do. Remember how she’s walking through tight hallways and people are like, smacking gum, wearing weird thong leotards, casually stretching with their legs on the wall? This place was totally like that!
Guys. It was amazing. I can’t stop thinking about it. I want to go there every day. I left class and I was like, I WANNA DO THAT AGAIN. Which is crazy, because this was the day after Halloween and we had gone out the night before. We didn’t go wild, but I did have a few beers and although we left the bars at a reasonable hour, I probably didn’t actually fall asleep until 1am or so. And woke up around 6am as usual. Feeling (very festively!) like a zombie with a hangover. A greasy breakfast sandwich and very large strong coffee got me through the workday, but I was a zombie once again by the time I got home.
The fact that it was a free class was the sole motivator for me to go. If I am a total disaster and get nothing out of the class or want to leave halfway through—hey, at least I’m not wasting 20 bucks or a space on my class card! It’s free! YOU WILL GO TO IT, I told myself sternly, BECAUSE IT IS FREE. Pep talks!
Before class started, I saw a familiar face! A woman from Wednesday classes at the other location. I asked her if she usually comes to this class and she said yes, and I asked if it was always this crowded, and she said that usually it was maybe more crowded! There were like 20 people lined up in the hallways as another class finished up in the studio. But luckily the studio was huge. I think that was the first thing that made me love the class so much. Because not only was it big, but it was clearly not brand new and fancy, like the large yet sterile studio at that other place I went to on Tuesday. It was lived-in. Rickety wooden barres nailed weirdly close to the wall. A haphazard collection of metal barres dragged out to the center.
There were so many people in class: men, women, all ages, seemingly all backgrounds, all body types, accents everywhere, students dressed in getups ranging from shiny neon leotards and legwarmers to utilitarian dark leos and leggings.
My friend from the other studio had let me know the teacher would be a sub. Halfway through class, the sub made an offhand comment about how we were “more advanced” than she expected, so maybe that was why the “beginner ballet” label was thrown out the window with the first plie. But by that point, I didn’t care, I was so buoyed by the vibe of the classroom!
I probably would have had a better class if I had gotten more sleep and all that, but I thought it still went pretty well. Just the usual flubs and awkwardness that I think come with taking a new class at any level, especially as a non-advanced dancer. Teachers have their rhythms, patterns and habits that you end up getting used to over time. So if you go to a new class, it might be basically on your level, but they “switch things up” in their own particular way that you’re not used to. So it seems harder than it really is, or at least harder than it will feel the next time you go. Usually. Sometimes it’s just plain hard.
I did have a few moments that I blame purely on being sleep-deprived/fighting the last remnants of a hangover. She demonstrated a few combinations in the center, and we would do them and I would miss a few steps—and each time I would have literally no recollection of those steps being shown to us in the first place. I tried to make myself pay better attention, but it was hard.
Luckily, the diagonal combinations weren’t too crazy, so no major humiliations there. There were a few students who were really lovely to watch go across the floor, and it wasn’t exactly the ones I had expected from cursory/panicked glances around the room during barre and center. All is revealed in grand allegro! I can say that because, as I mentioned last time, I too am revealed for what I really am during grand allegro. Follow me all you want during barre but proceed at your own risk during grand allegro, because I will be clunky, off the music, wrong arms, feet flapping. Sorryyyy!
Now I feel conflicted. I really liked that teacher, even though she was the sub. But I suspect I would like the usual teacher too—it was really the vibe of the studio space and the other students that was giving me so much life. But to go to that class, I would have to give up the hip hop class at the Y, which is the only non-ballet thing I do and which I also really enjoy. I guess it’s a non-issue for now, as I can’t really afford to add a bunch more classes to my schedule using the 10-class cards. I’ve been planning to buy the unlimited pass for the spring semester, so I can hopefully attend some classes at this other studio then. They have the most offerings of any location, but unfortunately not much that really fits into my schedule. The Tuesday night class is Jazz. Maybe I could try that? It has no level, just “Jazz.”
What really tempts me is a Friday evening ballet class… listed as “beginner/intermediate” and probably super hard if that Thursday class was just “beginner”! Ugh I just basically want to live at that studio. Have you ever fallen in love with a place?