I have a dance confession to make. I’ve dropped out of ballet lessons twice in my life.. once when I was five, and again at age 17.
Five year old me got frustrated that all we did in ballet class was point and flex our feet, (strangely enough, that’s really all I remember doing) and was deeply disappointed that we didn’t get to wear huge Barbie-esque, sparkly pink tutus, or satin slippers with romantic ribbons on them. Talk about being a little diva!
Then at 17, having finally outgrown the sparkly tutu fantasy, I thought it would be cool to give ballet another go and signed up for adult classes. Unfortunately, I was stiff as a board (in every sense!) and felt too awkward and uncoordinated to continue. I also felt my awful knock knees were preventing me from standing in first position. And if I couldn’t even stand properly, what chance did I have of dancing?
Of course now I look back wistfully, wishing that I’d only continued, as I’d be so much stronger and bendier than I am now. Not to mention disciplined. Ballet as a dance form has such legacy and formality, and no other dancers understand discipline quite the way ballerinas do, in my opinion.
There’s a fair number of ballerinas at the pole studio as well. You can pick them out by their effortless splits, good posture, permanently-pointed toes, and even just the graceful way they move their hands. A few of the instructors are ex-ballerinas too, which explains a lot.
But though my ballet experiences were short-lived, (and my ballet aspirations are long dead) I still have a soft spot for it. Which is why I love me some ballet blogs! And why I have a little ballet blog section at the bottom of my blog-roll which I’m quite fond of.
1) The Adult Beginner is one of my favourite non-pole blogs, period. She started taking adult ballet lessons at the age of 32, which totally resonates with me since I started pole dance lessons at 31. (okay, so nobody ever started pole dancing at age 4 the way they do in ballet, but lots of the girls at the studio are something ridiculously young like, 18!)
And for that alone I totally respect miss Adult Beginner’s courage and dedication. Because stepping foot into a pole studio for the first time might be intimidating and all, but at least everyone there will be of minimum legal drinking age. Stepping into a ballet studio however, you might meet a bunch of kids who literally have more than 10 years of solid dance experience behind them. Now how discouraging is that?!
But apart from that, I love the Adult Beginner’s blog because she’s funny as hell, tells it like it is, and is wonderfully kind to old people. Plus, her photo-illustrated Swan Lake tribute page is the coolest one in town.
2) Tights and Tiaras is also a personal ballet blog, but is everything the opposite of The Adult Beginner. Its creator, Henrik is a professional (!) male (!!) and straight male, mind you (!!!) ballerina who dances in the Hungarian Győr National Ballet, so the blog gives an extremely unique insider’s view on life within the often closed world of professional ballet. Like the unexpected occupational hazards and job perks of ballerinas, fascinating theatre superstitions, and what it’s really like to dance for a living. What he does have in common with The Adult Beginner is a wicked sense of humor. And English isn’t even his native language! He also has a ‘Bedtime Stories’ section dedicated to explaining the plot synopsis of the major classical ballets, like Giselle and The Nutcracker. A very useful cheat-sheet for instantly upping your culture-credibility.
3) Dance Advantage is fantastic resource on all things dance related, with different categories for performing, choreographing, teaching, dancing, training, and career. Props to Nichelle, it’s one-woman-show founder for creating and maintaining it. Though 90% of the content seems to revolve around ballet, there are the occasional articles from other dance genres like contemporary, ballroom, tap, and jazz. (And one day hopefully, pole!) I especially like the various articles on anatomy and nutrition for dancers, and burnout prevention.
Fortunately, even though ballet didn’t work out for me, I still managed to foster a relationship with dance through a different channel. One that specializes in welcoming adult beginner dancers, doesn’t require as many years of formal training in order to progress, and still requires graceful movements and pointed toes!