Monday, April 25, 2011

Pliés, arabesques and an elephant

This week is the Bay Area National Dance Week. For a dance-loving creature like me, it means a week of heaven. Every day this week, dance studios all over the Bay Area give free classes. You can try everything from Bollywood-dancing to Pole-dancing.

I've taken plenty of dance classes in my days. But instead of focusing on one particular dance, I've tried a bunch of different styles. Because I'm a non-advanced dancer, I've mostly taken dance classes at the gym or adult education classes. They have been fun, but sometimes I would like to go to a Bollywood class without it being infused with aerobics or a belly-dancing class that would be more technically challenging.

There are a multitude of dance studios around. But it's always a gamble to take a class at a dedicated dance studio. They all have classes for "beginners", but the ones I've been to, I'm always the "most beginner". I went to one beginner's jazz class last fall. The people and atmosphere was really nice, but the dancers were "proper" dancers. The instructor was very nice and supportive and helped me a lot. But after the class I couldn't walk properly for about a week. Just leaning over my plate to eat was painful!

When I saw the ad for the Bay Area National Dance Week I got so excited. I thought, maybe people who are curious about dancing would go to these classes and try them out. Maybe people would take the opportunity to venture out of their comfort zone and do something they normally don't do. There must be more people out there like me! So I signed up for a 2-hour introductory ballet class. And off I went!

And now I'm back! I had a good time, but oh boy am I glad I have taken a couple of ballet classes before! The instructor told us what to do and we did what we were told. Simple enough. I knew how to point and flex my toes. I knew the five positions and I knew how to do them in plié. I understood what he ment when he instructed us to balance an arabesque. I even kinda understood what to do when I was told to do a chassé third to fourth position. I started to get really confused when I was told to do a set of tendus from fifth followed by a set of glissés and a couple of rond de jambes, finishing with a balace in passé.

Was I the most beginner? Yes I was. Was I the only non-ballerina who took the opportunity to try ballet. Yes I was. There were a few ballet dancers who's never danced at this studio before, but the big majority were regulars. I was neither, which was beyond obvious. The elephant in the room doesn't even begin to describe it!

I still enjoyed it. But I'm not going back. The hunt for the perfect fit continues. I'm still hoping there is a dance studio out there that will not only teach me to do a proper arabesque, but also explain what it is and show me how it's done.

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