I love it when things fall into place without too much strain in the planning department and it feels as if the Universe is conjuring magic using the tiny rockets of desire that you send out while daydreaming. Last week was one such week when I felt this kind of magic in my dance life.
I didn’t actually think I would go back to class so soon, because I still suffered from joint pain that had been around for almost a whole year. My efforts in reducing the pain had helped, particularly the shoulder flexibility program. But the pain in the back of my knee and my ankle didn’t improve enough for me to feel truly “ready.”
One day my accountability health coach suggested this “Ballet for Adult Humans” class on the Meetup site. So I checked it out. The location is near Times Square, New York and the price is very affordable. Most important of all, I read in the description that the class always starts with a floor barre and focuses on fundamental techniques. That sounded right for me, as I would have to retrain all my muscles after a whole year’s dance break.
The teacher, Maria Zannieri, has over 40 years of teaching experience. She is very friendly and down to earth. The studio where our class takes place is located inside the Theatre Row, which houses several theaters for plays and many dance and music studios. The site used to be a burlesque house and is now bubbling with creativity and performing arts. Since the inside of the building is a bit like a maze, Maria showed me around to instruct me on how to find my way from different entrances.
We started with the floor barre, then progressed to the barre and center. It was tough trying to wake up those sleepy muscles and my left foot (the good one) cramped a lot in the beginning. Maria assured me that this is normal for someone who hasn’t danced for such a long time. She said my muscles are still “wired” for ballet and it will probably take a few classes before the cramp disappears. Some of the movements like developpé and doing fast beats on the floor are really tough for me. I actually worked up a little sweat doing just those! But it was a really nice kind of tough–and I’m sure you know what I mean, right?
One “phenomenal” thing about this class is there were more guys than gals! This was unheard of in any other ballet classes I have ever been to! So of course I had to take a snapshot for this “historical moment,” LOL!
Two days later, I was back to the same studio at Steps on Broadway where I took a floor barre class with floor barre creator Zena Rommett eight years ago. She has since passed on and the “resident” teacher for the floor barre classes is now Marguerite Wesley. She often injected snippets of her memories of Zena during her instruction. Somehow, I could feel Zena’s presence and sing-songy voice still vibrating in this room. Her soul continues to live on in every dancer who has come into contact with her.
While I was a bit confused during the whole routine, I still managed to finish all the exercises and then we did a few barre exercises at the end. After class, I felt a solid sense that my body was better aligned and more grounded. It was a positive feeling. Floor barre is great not only for beginning adult dancers but especially good for dancers in recovery like me. I’m not sure if I will be able to take more of this class due to my work schedule, but I do have some DVDs that I purchased from Zena years ago, so I can start doing the exercises at home.
Amazingly, the pain in the back of my knee has almost disappeared after these two very “undemanding” classes. Why hadn’t I started dancing sooner? I was waiting for the pain to go away, and it turned out that motion itself is the antidote. It is true what I had learned years ago when I trained as a Postural Alignment Specialist with the Egoscue University. Pain can be healed through motion. And I have totally ignored this truth by giving myself excuses not to move! But it’s never too late. Now that I have started, I am itching for more!
The most exciting happening this past week was that I started seeing my very first dancer client in my health coaching practice. I can’t tell you how much joy and fulfillment that gives me. My mission is to help dancers, including aspiring professional dancers and adult ballet students, to develop a sustainable and life-long healthy-eating habit so they know what and how to eat in order to create the ideal body composition for their unique body types, and to fuel their high-level performances. A key focus is to help dancers break away from emotional eating patterns in a holistic way and develop a healthy relationship with food. If you are curious about what I offer and how I can help you, click on the image below to find out! And, as always, I welcome your comments and feedback.