At the Ballet
I have always had a connection with Ballet. It started with my Grandma taking me to the Nutcracker when I was five. I really didn’t understand it, and I kept asking her when they would start talking, but I still found it all magical. At that age, it was more the costumes and the beautiful Prima Ballerina, but I was still hooked.
I was in gymnastics at the Park and Recreation Department at the time, but as soon as I got home from my trip to the Ballet, I insisted on dance class. For a few years, it was just Jazz and Tap that was offered. I think my parents wanted to see if it was something I would stick with. I loved to dance, so they finally signed me up for what I had been waiting for, Ballet class. I took class at the studio connected with our local Ballet company, and got to see the company dancers rehearsing. I even got to perform as a Ballerina in the Nutcracker. OK. Maybe, I wasn’t a Ballerina, just a Pierrot (French Clown) or Battle Mouse, but I was up on that stage.
While most kids love just goofing around or dancing to Pop music, I loved the structure of Ballet. For 45 minutes, I was transported to a world of strange words, new rules, and beautiful music. I didn’t have time to think of anything but what my body was doing, how it was moving, and making each step as perfect as I could.
Move the Body and Quiet the Mind
I guess this is where I should mention that I’ve always suffered from Anxiety. Of course, when I was younger, I didn’t know what it was or that it had a name, but it plagued me all the same. I would find myself worrying about everything and nothing at all. My mind was constantly going, I had stomach problems, and I never slept through the night. Ballet was an escape from all that worry, even if it was only for a few hours a week.
When I finally found out there was a name for my constant worry, I was in college. I started therapy and medication, and my Anxiety improved. I did not, however, give up dancing. By this time, Ballet was a part of me. It made me feel beautiful and graceful. It helped my concentration, kept my body in shape, and still allowed me to escape from the stress of my life.
Then, for the first time in my life, I took a break from Ballet. I got busy being an adult. I started working full-time in the corporate world. I got engaged. I planned a wedding, I got married, and I had babies. Through all of it, my Anxiety was still there, though it was dulled by medication.
I am a Ballerina
Now, here I am. My twins have turned 3-years-old, and I’ve started dancing again. I take an adult Ballet class at a local studio, and I’m finally feeling more like myself than I have in years. Even though I do not have a dancer’s body anymore, and even though I’m not quite as flexible as I once was, I still remember most of the steps. I may never be a Ballerina, but that’s OK. That one hour in the dance studio gives me such joy, I almost can’t describe it. I just feel somehow lighter, and just better. Ballet still has the power to shut off that part of my brain that worries about every little thing.
For one hour a week, I don’t have to make decisions. There are no children begging for my attention, no cleaning of the house, and no polite conversation. I just follow the rules, and let my body move through space. Ballet truly gets me out of my head and into a better place. Ballet allows me another escape from my Anxiety, and that is something that makes me better for everyone and everything in my life.