Some people have hobbies when they're children and as they grow up this hobby grows with them, and in some way it might form a part of their identity. For me it was ballet. I'm not sure how much ballet was a part of my identity, but I started when I was only five years old, and stopped when I reached year 12 because I wanted to focus on school. At its high point I was doing four or five hours of dancing every week.
I haven't done ballet in six years now and some time last year I realised that I missed it. I'm not sure what exactly it was that I missed. I certainly didn't miss exams or concerts, painful toes from pointe shoes, or getting changed into a leotard. I think part of it was that I missed my muscles feeling strong, that sense of posture that comes with ballet, and the friendships I shared with those in my class.
A couple of weeks ago one of the students in first year with me talked about the opportunity to do some ballet classes. There is someone in a year above us who is a ballet teacher. She had talked about starting something at college for those of us who had done ballet previously and wanted to have some casual classes.
I was very excited and keen to make sure that I had the time to go to the class. Yesterday I had my first ballet class in six years. Muscles that used to be so easy to use, are now much harder to control. Where holding my core tight and making sure I didn't roll my feet in used to be an almost unconscious thing during ballet classes, now there are so many things to think about at once, just when standing still. But it was fun to feel these things coming back to me, to use my muscles to move my legs and test how much flexibility I have left. I'm looking forward to improving.
I'm exited about these ballet classes, particularly because a few other girls in my year whom I have become friends with are also coming along to the class. I'm not sure I'm keen enough about getting back into ballet to find an adult class and go all by myself, so doing this with friends is such a blessing and a comfort. We laugh when each other's knees crack, or when we forget to close our leg behind instead of in front. I hope this provides an opportunity to get to know these girls better and develop our friendships.
I'm also excited about doing these classes because it will make me do at least some form of exercise. I am very bad at self-discipline, and exercise is not something that I love to do. But if I'm with other people, particularly having fun with friends, well it doesn't always feel like exercise then.
So I have one more thing to bring back with me when we go to Adelaide in the winter holidays: my ballet shoes.