Monday, May 2, 2011

New-found inspiration

So here I am, 50. I feel creaky. I spend my days sitting behind a desk, and standing too long makes my back hurt. I've tried getting into yoga, but although it helps it isn't something I look forward to eagerly.

One day a few weeks ago, for no reason I can easily explain, I had the urge to dig up my old ballet gear. I found some old tights, my dance belts, and even my leg warmers. Handling them resulted in a cloud of fine powder, as the elastic had long since dried to brittleness, but it brought back fond memories. Could I really go back to taking ballet classes? Would it be as much fun as I remembered?

I hunted around on the web (how did I ever find anything before the Internet?) and found several potential classes. I selected one at a small storefront very near to my house on the basis of their inviting tone, small class size, and schedule compatibility. Having gone that far I needed new gear. I fretted over not being able to find my old slippers, and having noted sizes and such I went off to Artistic Dance Fashions, the same dancewear store I'd been to back in '84. It has a long history and is very popular with dancers in this area. This turned out to be both good and bad: good in that the man who helped me was a dancer himself, and very knowledgeable about men's dancewear; bad in that a group of new students from a local dance academy had recently stripped them of much of their stock of men's slippers. Finally they located a pair that seemed to fit, courtesy of someone who had placed two pair on reserve then failed to pick them up for several weeks. I did get a rather icy stare from one of the women in the shop when she observed that I really should have black shoes if I was going to wear black tights. I laughed and replied, "First let me survive a couple of classes, then I'll worry about being color-coordinated!"

Several things have changed in the last 25 years. The first is sizing. Yes, I've changed shape too, but a dance belt that was once called a "Large" is now labeled "XL". Thanks a lot, Capezio, my ego really needed that! Another thing is the advent of criss-cross elastics on shoes -- I had to hunt this down on the 'net. Are split-sole shoes something new? I mean new in the last quarter century. Sheesh.

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