I don’t know if it was due to watching one too many episodes of “Dance Moms,” but I recently found myself yearning to return to my original true fitness love: dance.
I vividly remember the exact day that I fell in head over heels love with ballet. I was maybe 3 years old, and I was watching TV with my mom. We saw a ballet performance where the camera angle showed an overhead shot of the dancers, twirling in formation in a circle with their big, flouncy skirts swirling around them. I remember thinking, “I want to do that!” So, I did 🙂
I started dancing as a young child and continued through my teenage years. It was not only a love; it bordered on an obsession. During the day, I daydreamed about ballet, and at night, I dreamed about it even more. I had a little barre in my bedroom where I would practice and stretch in my free time, and I took classes most days of the week. I loved the “black and white” nature of ballet: you’re either wrong or right with your technique. It’s precise, exact, and demands perfection…and you have to make it look absolutely effortless.
Unfortunately, towards the end of my high school days, ballet started to lose some of its appeal. I became very ill at one point with the stomach flu, ended up in the hospital due to dehydration, and lost a ton of weight to the point of looking emaciated. As soon as I could hold my head up, I dragged my poor sick body back to ballet class. That’s when my instructor told me, “Now you’re the perfect size to be a ballet dancer.” Are you kidding me?? I really wanted to be a carefree teenager for a little while. I started spending my time cheerleading, hanging out with friends, and applying to college…and my passion for dance began to wane.
But that’s not to say that I ever forgot about my first love. I still daydream about dance! (In fact, I find running sooo boring that I’ll usually choreograph dances in my head to the music I hear on my iPod while I’m running.) So, that’s what compelled me to sign up for an Adult Ballet class. And wow, what a lesson in humility it has turned out to be.
My brain remembers what my body is supposed to do, but my body just won’t cooperate! My turnout is terrible, my feet cramp up, and my flexibility is all but gone. Plus I’m about 25 pounds heavier than I was in high school. Needless to say, I’m not as light on my feet as I used to be. Everything that used to be second nature to me is now almost impossible (I almost fell over trying to do a simple pirouette tonight!). It’s frustrating that I am clearly nowhere near as good at dancing as I used to be.
Maybe I’m a masochist, but I’m actually enjoying that feeling of having to work so hard to improve myself. I like relearning the steps that used to be so effortless. And I really want to get better again! Let’s face it, I’ll never be a prima ballerina, but at least I’ll get a good workout once a week 😉
Plus I have a legit reason to rock a ballerina bun!
What was your first fitness love? Do you still pursue your passion, or would you go back to it some day?