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I hobbled into beginner ballet at age thirty-six, late for my first class, whirring between meetings, racing up the steps to the dance studio that was located, felicitously, next to a burrito joint that served beer.
I switched into beginner ballet after a disastrous attempt at intro to hip-hop a week earlier. Ballet, I hoped, would offer a gentler path into dance for a body also finding its way into middle age.
Sweat - Pants - T-shirt - Children - Care
So there I was in sweat pants and a grimy t-shirt, leaving three small children in the care of my spouse, to stand at the barre and fumble through tandus and rond de jambes. As arms unfolded like petals around me I tried to call up from memories of toddler dance over three decades ago how to place my feet in second position.
Throughout my life exercise has been a form of punishment. A popular t-shirt around my gym proclaims “sore today, strong tomorrow.” It appeals to the part of me that believes my body is out of sorts, a being I war against through push-ups and sprints.
Sports - Soccer - Game - Elation - Best
I didn’t grow up playing sports. I didn’t know soccer as “the beautiful game,” nor did I enjoy the elation of surging past a personal best in competition. Instead, exercise was introduced via Teen Magazine, and middle school gym class was a way to address bodily imperfection.
Somewhere along the line I was bamboozled into hating the cellulite linked to my genetic code, the stretch marks that came with a teenage growth spurt, and the sprouting hair that was nothing more than a sign of adulthood. Exercise was the answer to my body’s non-conformity, trying to attain that which was, in all likelihood, physically impossible to achieve.
Ballet - Way - Chance - Fitness
I assumed ballet would be an interesting and different way to exercise, the chance to try a new fitness...
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