AS ELSA SAYS, LET IT GO, LET IT GO, LET IT GO
I shared on Instagram that one of the most difficult things to do in ballet is to really let go. Often in graded class our teacher asks us to perform our exercises with emotion, to imagine a scenario, such as telling our lovers how we feel about them, and express that emotion through the exercise. It's nearly impossible to not feel utterly self conscious doing that kind of thing. Good grief it took me about 4 years to be able to smile during exercises without feeling like an idiot. But recently, when we do choreography, I find myself asking what scenario the character is supposed to be in during that variation. Once I know this, it helps me understand that the movements should be fast or slow, happy or sad. Do I feel self conscious? Sometimes, but letting go has been one of the most rewarding things I've learned from ballet.
Whilst I consider myself a fairly brave person, ballet has definitely made me braver. Stepping into my first ever ballet class by myself, muddling through exercises feeling like a lump of lard, took all the guts I could muster. Telling myself to stick at it when all I wanted to do was run for the door. And I see that same internal dialogue played out on the faces of girls who come to our barre and stretch class for the first time. The cringing self consciousness as they try and pick a spot on the barre, or when they can't touch their toes or keep up with the music. You can tell they just want to change their minds and leave. But they don't. They stay because they're brave. Just as I was brave stepping into Scottish Ballet for the first time.
I often feel ballet takes far more than it gives, especially when you're an adult learning it for the first time, but there are gifts it gives you that reach much farther than the studio. Since doing ballet I've accepted things that I'd normally say no to and I go places on my own I'd normally only go to with a friend. As an adult you often find you have to do things alone as friends have their own lives and families, but normally I just wouldn't do those things but now I go on my own and I'm perfectly confident doing so. So whilst ballet class often leaves me more miserable than happy, it's bestowed upon me gifts that have changed the person I am.
If you're swithering as to whether to take that first lonely step into a new class, just do it because you might just become a better person for it.