By: April (Axé) Charmaine
Have you ever felt uncomfortable in Ballet class or don't want to go because you felt
Like you had to be perfect or...
Your body was too big? Or not small enough?
Or there were too many expectations or age restrictions?
Or even that it's too late for you...
It's a thing... believe me, I know. As someone who began my ballet studies at the age of 9 as a trauma response to my parents divorce and body violence in my younger ages--I went to my first classes because I had bad "posture", and particularly as I developed more into adolescence became extremely uncomfortable, body conscious with an overwhelming sense of not belonging, nor ever having the ability to be good enough.
From the requirements to conform, wear a black leotard and pink tights- -pointe shoes, high tight buns and a very thin and young aesthetic--this art form can be so intimidating and exclusive.
While ballet is nowhere near my favorite form of movement expression, it is the one style that I have continuous regard for the foundation it has given me to know my body, to better my posture, to know how to hold myself, and to move with calm and grace. There are actually a ton of benefits from ballet in the right environment and with a supportive, inclusive, body positive teacher.
10 Benefits of Ballet Include:
Now, if you're still someone who feels like you don't have the desire to step into a ballet dance studio or want to experience a healthy version of this dance form... one that supports your full being, body, and demographic-- I encourage you to explore the form and give yourself the freedom to make it yours and find the environments, teachers, and opportunities that help you thrive and feel good in your body.
Ballet can be a great stepping stone and entry way into the dance world, especially if you want to learn how to hold your body, build awareness and coordination. It really is the technique that helps me fly when I want to put jumps and turns into my free dances and choreography.
So here is to deconstructing the demands of a very colonized art form... use the tools and make it yours.
Wanna learn a ballet choreography?
Check out our Ballet Foundations Tutorials in our Patreon Community and/or...
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Whatever you do, stay in your body, move your body, enjoy being in your body as it is and allow yourself to get free!
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celebration station: bacc xiii, tITWRENCH, get free, ballet foundations, movement rituals, sliding scale membership, the er & empower the sol
I spent the other night listing the growth that's taken place in SOL VIDA since September alone... as someone who frequently focuses on what's next, there's more to be done, and never feeling like it's enough... I find it important to take time to count our blessings, to celebrate our actual achievements big and tiny. I want to share some of the things that have been so cool lately...
Pure energy leading a Morning Ritual at the BACC XIII conference led by The Alliance for Community Development. Facilitating on the platform Hopin was a little anxiety inducing, but after a solid rehearsal and an encouraging team I realized it was all happening and just as I intended. Before I do anything, I set an intention, I geek off of lesson plans and this particular formula of getting people grounded and energized, allowed me to teach a breathing technique that is super beneficial, do a body part attunement and a high energy free dance to this song.
"You were phenomenal and truly created an energetic, centered and beautiful start to the day! I loved your energy and the music! Everyone had a wonderful time engaging with you and your intentions. We so appreciated your time and your contributions!"- Becca, Event Planner
Two days later, I got the supreme pleasure of leading a #DivineBootyShaking activation outdoors in the lovely City Park Gardens at Titwrench, where we met a bunch of new and old friends and celebrated this legendary festival which has come to its close in this form. It was unbelievable how much press came out of this and I had the chance to do a really cool interview with Queen City Podcast, you can hear so much more about the SOL VIDA philosophy and history here in addition to vibing with all the other amazing organizers and performers. The episodes are broken up into smaller chunks so easy listening.
Revamping our Patreon Membership into a sliding scale model with super consistent content has felt like one of the best decisions we've come to in the last season. It's so important to me that our programs and offerings are accessible and I want everyone to be here. I have wanted a hub for the SOL VIDA familia for so long and with so many of us in so many places, this is it... this is our consistent and inspirational connection point. So, we're doing a monthly meetup now called GET FREE and I got to test it out a couple Saturdays ago--and OMG, it is the thing.... it's the thing I've been wanting to do for so long--share tools, ground, connect, dance, create, talk and manifest. It is a beautiful thing and I am so excited for you to be a part of these future gatherings. I'm also making Personal Ritual videos that come out every week and it's just feeling really, really good.
And there are a million other things I can talk about, but one more awesome thing that happened this past dream was getting to reunite with one of my former dance students, Indie, to film the 4-part dance and choreo tutorial series for our Patreon Community. First, it was just so nourishing to see someone who I love, then to have conversations about what it's like being Queer and Black in Denver and then getting to go to the Hannah Kahn Open Studios to film content and we made a bomb a$$ ballet choreo to some bomb music. I have always loved setting Ballet to more contemporary, bassy music to break down some of the barriers that get associated with this often toxic dance form--we have some really fun music in these 5-15 minute dance tutorials. You can check out the trailer here.
And last, but not least for today... I'm still so in awe and humbled and moved by a very underground project I started about a year ago... The ER. I got the idea to connect with my friends across the globe to do interviews and create a choreopoem based off the discussion. Some of you may have seen the beta test I did with former student Grace in the Spring of 2020 as a part of Incivility's Subversion Series, and just yesterday, The ER episode 11.22: Rejuvenate Remembrance featuring our soul family brother, Mugisha Frank, premiered as a part of Fools Fury Build Art Share, which was an incredibly nourishing event and also featured some of our favorite Bay friends. There are more of these to come and I still can't get over that I was paired with one of my favorite comrades, Dr. Ajani Brannum as the dramaturg on this project. I know in the depth of my soul this project wants to be more, so I'm looking forward to manifesting more ways to share this work with you and also have you participate!
P.P.S. Empower the SOL is so amaaaaazing!!!! I love teaching this virtual class for older adults on Wednesday mornings. I lead guided healing movement rituals and it's such a lovely community, and guess what?! Stagebridge has opened this class to the public for FREE! If you are someone who is an older adult/elder, encourage them to drop into some of the sessions!!!
Axé (she & they)
SOL VIDA WORLDWIDE
A Creative Prompt submitted by Katie Hamilton
Scared of the dark, or scared of yourself? This month we challenge you to address your fears, whatever they might be, and learn to let go! Use one of our personal rituals to cope with your fears and come to a place of peace.