A pink taxi

A pink taxi

June 25, 2011

Ballet Barre

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!

1 comment:

  1. When I think back on my days of ballet, I remember the feeling of escape while I went through the motions. I used to allow the classical music to transport me, and I would relax, while focusing on the minuteness of the positions. As you mentioned, pilates, physique 57 and all these barre classes stem from the philosophy of ballet, which is so much about controlling muscles and keeping your mind focused. A part of me wishes I woulnd't look ridiculous in a leotard, so that I could get back into this beautiful sport.

    You are correct however in saying that if my little niece sticks with ballet, she will gain so much composure, discipline, focus and grace which she will hold on to for the rest of her life. Even as I take spinning classes, my focus goes to the music, to the beat, which carries me away from all worries or thoughts and allows my body to push itself to its limits.
    I am so proud of her. You never know! She may actually take ballet to another level and become a beautiful ballerina. She certainly has the long legs and delicate figure of a dancer.....