I’ve been going to a lot of ballet classes lately (it’s humiliating, I don’t speak French) and I cannot get over these women. Lithe, lean, tall, elegant…they all have perfect posture, long hair put perfectly into buns, and buttocks like 2 cantaloupes in a ziplock bag. I just don’t get it.
“Relevay ruhteeray,” it sounds like the teacher is saying and all the women begin bringing their legs up. “Second position, ron de jahmb!” And then we’re all making circles. (Why can’t she just say, make leg circles?) Next comes “Arabesque,” and the legs start swinging all over the place. Long, cellulite-free legs that look like they belong on mannequins are impossibly pointed towards the ceiling. Toes are curved so sharply they look like trowels. I meanwhile, am off-beat, slow, and my somewhat pointed leg is barely higher than 2 feet off the floor. I’m also not in the requisite leotard and tights with a ridiculously cute skirt wrapped around my flat stomach and pointy hips.
So why do I keep going back? It’s not for the view of myself in the mirror sandwiched between ballerina #1 and 2, that’s for sure. I think I go back because for that 1 hour, I’m in my head, battling with myself to push beyond what I think I can do, beyond the hurt, beyond the self-consciousness. I’m beating down my ego and learning how to admire that which is different from me without jealousy or envy. So far, I’m still envious…that much grace in 1 person is hard to swallow. But the dancers, once they start moving, are so mysterious and gamine and beautiful. It’s as if I’m in a room with people who are more divine than I.
The below are from the blog My Modern Met, featuring photographs by Dane Shitagi from the New York City Ballerina Project. You can click on them to enlarge those wish.