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.
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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!