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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Grit City Ballerina Is In The House





The Gritty City Woman has taken up ballet. Seriously.

I had my first adult basic ballet class with the Jo Emery Ballet School last night. When I asked Jo about the class, she warmly welcomed me to join the group and said that the class is very loving and gentle. So, I have wanted to try a dance class since forever (the last time I did ballet was at age eight). I require “gentle” and I dig “loving.” I was in. I eagerly purchased my pretty pink ballet slippers right after I signed up for the class.

Now when I told others what I would be doing, I got lots of laughter and snickers. Some thought it was an “I’m almost 40 years old” thing. Sure, it is a little. I just want to dance. I loved watching my 6 year old daughter practice. It looked fun and like good exercise.

So, off I headed to ballet class, in the heart of gritty South Tacoma by the train tracks, not knowing what to expect. Jo said I could wear whatever I wanted, as long as I had ballet slippers. I wore my favorite twill shorts that I got in Hawaii that were dyed in beer. I had on my favorite Lucky Brand T-shirt with a ying-yang symbol and a huge number thirteen on it. I had my long hair loose with a small barrette to hold my bangs back.

I was happily met by Jo and other members of the small class. The class members were so kind and many of them had been taking classes for a long time. They were from all kinds of professions and backgrounds. I felt happy to be there despite the fact
that everyone else had on nice, confident looking, dance style clothes (except me, who looked like I’d been to the beach) and that I was also the youngest person there. But hey, I thought I should be able to do this. I am me. I should be able to keep up. No problem.

We started at the barre. I liked that. The stretching felt great, the music was mesmerizing. I goofed up some moves here and there, but recovered. It was a good start and I was working up quite a sweat despite the cooling fans blowing near by.

And then we moved to the floor. Yikes! This was tough for me. When the class went to the right, I went to the left. Sometimes my feet wouldn’t go the way I wanted them to. I was sweating like a pig and getting tired. My hair was in my way, my shirt was too hot, my shorts started to chafe, and my slippers felt like they were pinching my toes. But I did it. I did leaps! Spins! Jumps! The other dancers and Jo, moved gracefully and beautifully. AWESOME! I looked like I was doing some kind of bizarre martial arts. But so what! I didn’t fall down, hurt other people, or break equipment. The class graciously reached out to help me and encourage me when I struggled. It worked. And I worked. And when I got some steps right, it felt like I was flying in the sky. I worked hard and when I left for the night, I had some stiffness and soreness, but in a good way.

When I got home, I kicked back with a nice, ice cold beer. Ah, dance! The Gritty City Woman way!

So, back I go next Wednesday to give it another go.

I will be chronicling my dance experiences here sometimes and on http://grittycitywoman.blogspot.com. Stop by and join the fun and laughter as I embark on my summer of dance! Thanks Jo and the gang!

9 comments:

Stephanie Frieze said...

Kim, you are awesome. I am neither snickering or laughing. I think it's great for people to do new things and not look back and say, "I wish I'd done..." My daughter-in-law is 42 and she's a beginning violinist so that she can help my grandson. Maybe we can have a joint recital sometime!

Kim Thompson said...

Stephanie:

Thank you! Another dream of mine is to play the violin! Good for your girl! Maybe she can teach me! It's a Blog Squad recital! Right on!

Love ya,

Kim

EmeraldPrincessOnline said...

Way to go!

Aura Mae said...

and now you know why they wear their hair in a bun

Kim Thompson said...

Thanks ladies!

Yes, Aura, now I get why the hair goes up! Mine was a wet mess. I'll be ready for next time!

Lorraine Hart said...

You keep stretching yourself (in more ways than twelve!) Kim...it's going to keep you young at heart and in mind forever.

Your outfit sounded Grit City Rebellious and cutting-edge...your moves a little northwest Nijinsky!

Will you go up on your toes? Ow-ow-ow...I'm getting a cramp thinking about it...cannae point my toes. I shall stick to hearing about the ballerina's life through you!

Thunderous applause and bouquets coming your way...Bravo...Bravo!!

Kim Thompson said...

Thanks Lorraine!

Yes, I did stretch my body, sometimes in odd ways at ballet!

Yeah, I can dance on my toes. That's always been pretty easy for me. It's odd because I do have a small bone in the bottom of my foot that got broken and didn't heal. It's not bugging me at all. Knock on wood!

(Kim knocks on her own head).

Hee, hee.

KR said...

Kim, we are with you in spirit, about to venture into the ballet world ourselves. Jude, Louis and I went out to buy the soon-to-be-four year old boy his ballet shoes. There are rows and rows of pink ones, with the somewhat less effeminate black ones way up at the top of the rack. Big brother eyed them dubiously: "They don't look like him," he commented. Louis didn't hear any of it; he's consumed with his plan to make a splash in the Nutcracker, wearing a costume and carrying that big sword. We talked about football players, other athletes who benefit from dance training. As we were walking out the store, big brother, Mr. Baseball was murmuring something about the big muscles the Nutcracker prince was sporting.

We will have fun following your progress! Good for you, trying this new thing.

Kim Thompson said...

Hello friends!

I can't wait to hear about Louis' adventures in the fine world of dance!

I can't wait for my next lesson and to do another report from the front!