July 21, 2010

because I didn't want to sweat.

When I was a young child I declined to participate in strenuous athletic activity. Because I didn't want to sweat.
At least, that's what I've been told.

Perhaps I might have been a ballet prodigy. I guess we'll never know.

I have always loved watching ballet. Sleeping Beauty was one of my favorite movies and I thought the ballet was beautiful. Over the years my father and mother occasionally took me to see the ballet. Once I saw Cinderella, Madam Butterfly; I saw The Nutcracker many times. The strength and power and grace of the dancers was thrilling to me. They looked so beautiful! I loved going to the ballet and hearing the light tapping of the dancer's ballet shoes on the wooden stage flooring as they leapt and twirled. The women were slender, feminine and beautiful. The men were gracefully strong and sturdy, yet masculine (most of the time).
More recently I've been thinking about posture and grace in movement. Not just in dance, but in every day life. I read an article in Vogue (I love Vogue, as we've discussed. Oh, the photographs! The fashion!) about the importance of good posture. Not only for one's health, but a person's posture can say so much about them and how they want to be seen by others. As I've been looking through portraits on The Sartorialist blog, this has become even more clear to me.
As an example of what I mean:

This woman is a burlesque dancer. Can't you tell?
On his blog, the photographer remarked that her "posture speaks volumes about who she is and how she wants to be perceived." 
I love that! And there's a small part of me that has always wanted to be a natural red head. And wear bright red lipstick. 

That last picture was taken during the 1930s in Spain. Isn't she just so...European? People say it all the time, but it's interesting how clothing goes in and out of style. She looks like she's been shopping at Anthropologie!

But where was I?


I feel it must be said before I say anything further, I have little to no musicality. I have trouble keeping with the beat in songs, I look a little nutty when I dance (not like Elaine from Seinfield or anything), I think I'm slightly tone deaf. And my posture is not so good. About five years ago I started doing Pilates and in the last two years I've done Yoga off and on, and I think that has improved my posture somewhat. But it isn't stellar. And I wouldn't call any movement that I make graceful. I'm a little clumsy and heavy-footed.

In high school I joined the volleyball team. It was my first attempt at organized sports, and I did it because playing volleyball was popular. The first year I made the Junior Varsity team, which I felt was a major blow to my confidence. I was an athletic person, though I'll grant I was not very talented or coordinated. And the other girls on the JV team were just not...very...athletic. The Varsity girls were good. Everyone knew it.
JV was an afterthought.
I'll probably tell a story or two about high school volleyball some day, but my point in bringing it up today is this: I learned to sweat. Have you ever participated in a Summer Volleyball camp? I have still never been that sore in my life. We started early in the morning every day and sweated our way through four hours of intense training. And if you were late you ran laps...and some times the coach forgot about you and you spent two hours running laps. I don't want to talk about it.

So now, with my love of ballet and desire for graceful movement and good posture, along with my willingness to allow sweat to escape my epidermis, I am prepared to do something quite drastic.

I'm going to dance.

Well, perhaps that's a stretch.

I'm going to take a ballet class.
Normally I say I'm going to do these things and then put it off until finally I forget about it (I'm not the only one--once I got a "birthday present" from Daniel that was a promise to take dance lessons with me. It's been four years and I'm not holding my breath). But this time, I emailed Vicki at Ballet Austin and said: Teach me to dance like a Sugar Plum Fairy!
She said: sign up for a class and give us some money, you weirdo.

It was very inspiring.

But I haven't quite gotten to that step yet.
I was happy to learn from Vicki that they offer a "New Beginner" ballet class for adults. Part of me wants to go just to see the kind of people that are grasping hold of their dreams a little late in life like me. Part of me is completely intimidated by the idea of doing something I've never done before. Part of me is totally excited and can't wait to start. I've always wanted to say, "Sorry, I've got ballet class tonight. Rain check?" I've also always wanted to take part in a dramatic dance-off (Me and my posse can pirhouette you under the table, homey!).
That probably won't happen in beginner ballet (or..anywhere but Step It Up?). But I can dream.
I'm a big dreamer, guys.

I don't have any illusions of grandeur (it is illusions or delusions? Either way, I don't have them. Of grandeur.). I don't think I'll ever really be the Sugar Plum Fairy. Or even a mouse (a little ballet humor). I just want to dance. Is that so wrong?

The cheesecake didn't taste like a disaster. It just looked like one.

Daniel: Uh, Honey? I think the cheesecake exploded?

I guess I'm no Pioneer Woman.


  1. I'm no Pioneer Woman either, but I LOVE cheesecake whether it looks good or not ;)

  2. oh this is great! i'm so glad you're going to dance!
    and...like you, sort of, i have never ever ever been good at or even liked sports. i like exercise, as long as i can do it all by myself. but sports? ugh. what's the point? i hate it.

    anyway...your cheesecake looks...as if it tasted good ;)

  3. I bet Christi would take dance with you.

  4. I've been wanting to take a class with Ballet Austin for YEARS but have been too passive (really more intimidated) about actually making that happen. You convinced me. I'll be taking a class as well... with them or possible Tapestry Dance Company.

    All that to say, thanks for this particular post. :) I've been needing to find that motivation to dance for a while now.