Ballet for Late Beginners

Did you know adult ballet classes were a thing? I sure didn’t. The very combination of words sounds disjointed and punchline-y, not unlike ‘adult diapers’ or ‘President Trump’.

But they are a thing, and I am enrolled in them. That’s right, Internet friends; I, Grace, am a ballerina. In the same sense that toddlers who are taking ballet classes are ballerinas, meaning that I sort of wobble in place while the teacher patiently explains second position to me for the third time, and occasionally I drool.


I do not look like these women. These women are poised and lean. They are mocking me. © Geiger Ballet

It’s hard, and my calves are angry at me, and I love it. Not even because of the ballet slippers, since in a huge display of self-restraint I haven’t bought any yet. But because it’s intricate, and it’s technical, and it’s two hours out of my week where I get to go into a big open room and be told precisely what to do by a pretty, dark-haired woman wearing a leotard.

“But why, Grace? Why are you squeezing your lumpy body into leggings to stand in a big mirrored room and practice battement tendus as the waif-thin woman in front of you executes perfect form while wearing a serene, Earth Mother smile?”

That’s what I asked myself about twenty minutes into the first class, all thoughts of my recent vow to ‘better myself’ forgotten with the bloom of frustration brought on by my failed plie. But my reason is a fairly simple one: I have a nasty habit of quitting things.

I pick up hobbies like I used to pick up personas; I was always bad about being the Boyfriend Girl, the girl who fell in with a guy and started to like what he liked, to do what he did. There was a stretch of my life where I was really into classic rock and motorcycles, and another where I was fascinated by marine life and ‘clean eating’.  It was terrible.

I’m older now and I like to think wiser, though I’m still sorting out who I am as a human being and trying to find things I’m truly passionate about. To do this, I’ve made a pact with myself: to pick up a hobby and stick with it for at least one year before moving on. My last endeavor was roller derby, but I decided to swap my skates for slippers due to time constraints.

So now I’m in adult ballet classes embarrassing myself on a bi-weekly basis. I’ve only had two classes, but so far it’s nothing like roller derby was. No one’s affectionately yelling at me or slapping me on the ass, both of which I kind of miss. But I’m happy with the increased amount of Tchaikovsky in my life, and I’ve finally found a place where my bowlegged-ness is more of a help than a hindrance. And maybe by next June, I’ll have graduated from ‘inflicting secondhand embarrassment upon all’ to ‘passably floaty fingers’.

Because as my beloved Jake* so expertly put it, “Sucking at something is the first step to becoming sorta good at something.”

*Jake the Dog from Adventure Time. The Confucius of our time.


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