After a fairly shaky start to my endeavours at ballet I decided to put in a little practice at home (using the book I mentioned in my last missive). Boy, did that backfire! Cut to Emerald walking like the Hunchback of Notre Damme, walking around dragging one overly turned out foot because it hurt too much to turn it back in! I was fairly sure that I had been turning out wrong as the part of the leg that hurt was the front of my calf, just by the bone.
By Wednesday (the day of the class) my leg was still very painful and I was considering staying home and licking my wounds. Luckily I plucked up the courage to go to class, planning to sit out anything that hurt too much and it paid off! The stretching at the barre seemed to ease things off a little and by the end of the class my leg felt better than it did before. Not great but definitely better. I also had a quiet word with one of my more experienced classmates. She explained that I had been over ambitious with my turnout. I had started turning correctly from the hips but had then tried to force myself to turn out further from the ankle which had aggrivated the muscle in the front of my calf. Clearly I am just too keen!
The class itself however, sore leg and all, felt so much better than last week. I felt more relaxed at the barre - less focused of my own embarrassment and more in tune with the movements and my body. The floor work, which I had been dreading, felt a hundred times better that night than it had the week before. While I did not float and glide across the floor like some of the more experienced dancers seem to do I felt like I managed to keep up with what I was supposed to be doing and if I made a mistake (which I did. Repeatedly) it was more to do with using the wrong foot or just falling out of step rather than because I hadn't a clue what I was supposed to be doing.
I left the lesson beaming with confidence and exhiliration. I could have happily stayed and danced for another hour. I felt too excited to go to bed when I got home! Of course, a lot of this probably has to do with the endorphins of exercise and so on but it still felt good! I felt as though, perhaps I CAN do this after all. Obviously, I am still one of the weakest (if not THE weakest) in the class and the improvement I noticed in the lesson is more likely a fluke or the result of feeling a little less nervous but if I can do something better once (even if only by fluke), I can do it again.
I am excited for the next class and determined to do better!
'Til the next one,