Ballet Class is for Badasses


Sorry that I’ve been absent. It was my birthday weekend, and I damn well acted like it.

On to today’s article: Ballet Class

Before you read any more, you need to check this out. I’ll wait.

So, now that you understand Ballet is hardcore, let’s proceed.

I’m a dancer. I’ve been taking ballet and tap since I was two (my mother lied to the owner of the dance school and said I was three.) Eventually, they found out. But I was pretty good, so they didn’t care.

I continued to take as many forms of dance as I could for the rest of my childhood and young-adulthood.

I teach many forms of dance but haven’t taken a proper NYC ballet class in AGES. So, this week, my goal was to pop down to Broadway Dance Center on w. 54th and take a class.

When I went on a more consistent basis, my roommate and I would go on Wednesday nights to Andrey Silantyev’s class. He is out-of-control hilarious.

Andrey is an older man who was a soloist for the State Academic Bolshoi Theatre for twenty years. He’s one of the only ballet masters I’ve taken from who still uses a live pianist for accompaniment. They are both Russian, and I know that when they’re chatting after class, they’ve GOT TO BE talking Russian trash about someone in the class. It’s absolutely fabulous.

This morning, I decided to go back to his class. Of course, I knew it would be a struggle to dive straight into a 90 minute ballet class with New York City professionals. I was a little nervous, until I remembered that it’s New York: No one cares about you. I find that comforting.

How was it? It was fine. Better than fine. I did very well. And I enjoyed it. My balance needs a little more work. I also forgot how tired+danceraggravating ballet shoes can be when you aren’t used to them (In my other classes, I dance in socks or barefoot.)

Silantyev’s class consists of a comprehensive barre followed by a pretty standard center-floor (adagios, jumps, turns, grand jumps, etc.)

Personally, when I’m taking ballet, I’m not just going through the motions. I don’t know if it’s because I’m a dance teacher who yells about form and alignment or if it’s because my own ballet instructors over the years have instilled the discipline in me, but when I’m at the barre… I’m working my ass of the entire time. It’s like thinking about 50 things at the same time while trying to breathe and make it all look peaceful. It makes you feel like a badass if you really do it right. After the first three barre exercises, I was sweating profusely. I know I’ll be sore tomorrow in my hips, hamstrings, quads, glutes, and calves.

All I kept thinking is that there are people out there who take all these ballet fitness classes: Pure Barre, Be Ballet Buff, The Bar Method, Flybarre, etc. That’s all fine and good, but I’m glad my mother pushed baby-me into dance class so I can do the real damn thing now. I don’t want to pretend to do ballet.

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