My sister attends Physique 57 in New York City. The fitness classes she takes there consist of toruturous exercises at the bar, reminiscent of ballet exercises. My sister also happens to be an alumn of The Dubai Ballet Center and her namesake, my daughter, is walking in her ballet slippers twenty five years later, at the same location!
My daughter is in the 1st Grade in Ballet. She has passed two official exams (pre-Primary and Primary) with the British Royal Academy of Dancing. I watched her perform informally yesterday and I was torn between regret and pride.
The pride I felt was toward the tomboy who started ballet when she was three. At the time, she used to insist on wearing a blue skirt over her pink leotard to break the overall pink monotony of the outfit. She gradually accepted to conform and I was always impressed that she joined class with such enthusiasm and insisted on continuing. It has been three years since her first class.
The regret I felt came from never liking ballet myself ! Unlike my daughter, my mother had to force me to go to class. She had to bribe me: if I didn't do ballet, I couldn't do karate! As a result of this barter, I went with reluctance and stubbornly refused to pay attention. I stood there bored and perhaps a bit self-conscious in a leotard I considered unfit for an over-weight teenager. If I had a tad bit of additional maturity, I would have tried to enjoy it and benefit from it.
For my daughter, while the previous years were basically pre-ballet classes, this year, in Grade 1, she spends half her class at the ballet bar. I gazed at her, in line and in sync with her fellow dancers: I saw her stand in different positions and the basics came back to me. Except this time, I was listening to the dance teacher's instructions carefully.
In tune as I am now with pilates, I understood the teacher's imagery. She asked her little students to stand with poise, as if they were springing out of a toaster, their backs straight and their tummies tucked in and their necks reaching long. She made sure that they had shoulder stability as well.
Incidently, a few days later, I heard Kanye West's Runaway after a long time and the piano keys reminded me of the dainty ballerina the rapper had selected to adorn his record cover and appear in his video.
I am happy that my daughter has taken to ballet. It will always be a valuable base for any fitness program and she will be sure to integrate grace it into her life.
Even Kanye West thinks it is cool!