Wednesday, November 21, 2012


For the last few weeks, after Sunday class my friend and I have wandered down the hall and spent a few minutes peeking through the door while the school prepares for next month's performances of The Nutcracker. She watches with unabashed joy. I, on the other hand, feel pleasure tinged with sadness and regret. See, there's a part of me that wishes I could be in there preparing for a performance.

What would have happened if I'd started ballet back in the mid-1960s, before I was old enough to learn that "boys don't dance, and especially not ballet"? What if I'd taken it more seriously when I did start class in the mid-1980s, and not dropped it a few years later? I highly doubt I would have gone on to a professional career in the former case, and definitely not in the latter, but neither I wouldn't be struggling to learn the basics in my 50s.

So what's the point of struggling through classes now? I'm pretty sure I could manage to have a full life if I never master a pirouette en dehors. And even if I do, will it take me somewhere?

If I wanted to sing on stage I could join a local choir. If I wanted to act I could try out for an amateur theatre company. There are plenty of options for either. But ballet? I know some of the larger schools put on performances, but they all seem to be pre-pro students. Or little kids providing their parents with a lifetime of embarrassing stories to tell. I've never heard of an amateur ballet company for adults. Is there such a thing? Is it even practical?

I don't even feel that driven to dance on stage, but it seems like there should be some purpose to all the work. Something I could achieve that's more than just moving up from the beginner to the intermediate class. Maybe the Royal Academy of Dance approach, with their multitude of levels and exams, isn't as dumb as I thought.

And just to lighten the tone of this posting...

In looking for information on the RAD program structure, I followed a link that listed RAD-registered teachers and studios in the USA. One school's website struck me as rather odd. I'm guessing that someone started with a template of some sort and only partly converted it. Otherwise the following "testimonials" make no sense:
"Having been out of the workforce 20 years raising my children, Twinbrook School of Ballet gave me the education to re-enter the job market.  Thanks to Twinbrook School of Ballet, I landed a job on my second interview. My new employer was very impressed with my diploma from Twinbrook School of Ballet."
"Computer technology had passed me by. Thanks to Twinbrook School of Ballet I am now certified in the latest program languages, and got a nice promotion at work."
I can learn the latest programming languages while taking ballet? Who knew? But how does the "Biochemistry 101" class they offer fit into the RAD curriculum?

Ok, I take it back. It still makes no sense. But is sure is funny!

1 comment:

  1. Late to this post, but wanted to comment because I understand your feelings of wistfulness. Sometimes ballet feels like such a kids' game... well, kids and pros. There's no community theatre or choir equivalent. Well, not NO equivalent, they're just a lot harder to find.

    I am constantly counting my blessings that I found a studio with a company which actively encourages adults to perform. As much as I love taking class, I need the performances to keep me motivated, plus they serve as a barometer to see how far I've come. I can tell you that if you were here we'd gladly add you to the roster. As it is, we rely heavily on men that can follow directions... that's about our only requirement. When we find one that has even the most rudimentary dance skills we become positively giddy!

    While I'm not sure about RAD's exact approach I'm intrigued by the levels and exams. If I didn't have performance opportunities I think I'd want to do something like that just to have a set of concrete goals.


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