Sunday, August 25, 2013

Committing to my addiction

The school where I take classes offers single class, 10 class, and unlimited/4-month pricing plans. The way it works out, if you're going to take classes regularly, but average 2 or fewer classes a week, the 10 class plan is cheapest; the break-even point for the unlimited/4-month plan is 2.54 classes a week over the ~17 week period. As readers may have noticed, I've been taking two classes a week for some time, which means I've been buying "cards" about every 5 weeks. The staff is very good at reminding you of how many classes you have left when that number gets to about 3 or fewer. This is important as they don't take credit cards and not everyone carries a check book regularly anymore.

Several factors came together this week to make me reconsider this. Firstly, my most recent 10 class plan purchase had one class remaining on it. Secondly, the next unlimited/4-month period starts in September (they run Sept-Dec, Jan-Apr, May-Aug), which is just a week away. Thirdly, and most importantly, I've been thinking about taking a third class each week, which would make the unlimited/4-month plan more than $130 cheaper.

I really wish I could take daytime classes. There's a Floor Barre class Mondays I'd like to take, and some other interesting subjects scattered through the week. Unfortunately, sneaking away for almost 3 hours in the middle of the day just isn't practical. Maybe when I hit the next big lottery jackpot! But I can take Beginner II classes Saturday and Sunday mornings and Tuesday evenings, and there's a Beginner I class Wednesday evenings. And if I REALLY want to fritter away a weekend day, there are stretch classes that start shortly after the ballet classes. The last time I took one of their stretch classes I felt like I should be in traction for a week, but that's mostly because I just don't stretch enough.

My initial thought was to take the Sunday Beginner II class today to see how well the instructor's style and I get along. After class yesterday (Saturday) I got to chatting with one of the other students, who really raved about the instructor. Her class is reputed to be easier than the Saturday class, without reverting to the (now) slow pace of the Beginner I classes. Of course, that instructor is on vacation this week. This morning, at the last minute, I decided to go anyway, mostly to see how my body reacted to the extra activity. I rolled into class with just a few minutes to spare.

There was an odd, rhythmic clunking coming from the pianist's corner. Initially it puzzled me, but soon I identified it as the sound of the pianist thumping a broken key. He was working the pedals, trying to identify whether something was stuck, but to no avail. He was skilled enough to coax beautiful music from the instrument without it, but apparently it annoyed him enough that he'd thump away at the broken key whenever he wasn't playing. I found it more amusing than distracting.

I then had another reminder that men are notably rare in ballet classes. At the start of each class one of the desk staff steps into the studio and checks that the head-count matches the computer's roster. Today's head-count didn't match, and she asked everyone to identify themselves as their names were called. When she got to the end she asked whose name hadn't been called, and mine hadn't. In fact, she totally ignored me, even when I raised my hand as having not been called. Later I checked: apparently all the desk staff knows who I am — most remember my name when I walk up to the check-in counter — and she didn't feel the need to even call my name from the roster.

The substitute instructor is new to the school, and opted for exercises that were on the easier side: every move on the beat, nothing in fourth, and no grand pliƩs at all. The combinations were all simple enough that I got them very quickly, with only the occasional brain fart. Yet I still felt like I was learning; her directions were clear, her feedback was good, and the pace allowed time to focus on details without being distractingly slow. I don't consider myself to be in great shape (yet!), often finding myself exhausted at the end of my Tue/Sat classes, but at the end of barre I felt pretty good. I was truly surprised to see some of whom I assume are the Sunday regulars sprawled on the floor catching their breath.

When we did combinations across the floor in groups of three I declined to be in the first group, but ended up paired with one of the better women in the class; we weren't exactly dancing together, but it was fun to be on the floor with her. After class I wasn't as sweaty as usual, but felt like I'd had a pretty good workout. Now, several hours later, I'm not finding any reasons I shouldn't be able to do this every week.

I've sometimes been heard to say I either need to do less of this or more, so for the next few months it's going to be more. It's just a shame the only Thursday evening class is Advanced Beginner, which I just don't think I'm up to yet. Otherwise I could have classes Sat/Sun/Tue/Thu, which might avoid the aches which seem to peak on the second day after class.

1 comment:

  1. Just wanted to say I'm enjoying reading a few of your posts! I'm a "returned to the studio" 50ish aged adult, too. Enjoyed hearing bits of your story!

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