I have been asked this many times, as I’m sure a lot of other gorgeous Elancé Ballet members have as well. I could answer this in one simple answer: to get on pointe. That has been my ultimate goal since day one. But ballet is simply more than getting to pointe.
Allow me to explain.
I never did any dance activities in my childhood – or adulthood for that matter! Growing up, we were taken to swimming lessons every Saturday morning. This meant getting up at 6am, which was tough for a growing child! And besides doing various sporting activities at school, I had never done any extra-curricular dance lessons. After completing VCE, I enrolled in Taekwondo and loved the self-discipline aspect of martial arts. I was regularly going to Body Combat and Body Pump classes. In the past 5 years, I have really enjoyed going to watch the ballet live on stage.
Then I thought, why not enrol in classes?
But don’t you have to do ballet classes from childhood? I had so many questions and so many obstacles that I thought I would have to face. Luckily I spoke to Kate who very kindly reassured me that ballet can be undertaken at any age.
I still remember buying my first pair of flat ballet shoes; “What on earth were these?”, I was thinking at the time.
My mother said to me, “But don’t you use the shoes with the block on the end?”
“Pointe shoes, and no mum, not yet”, I explained.
And what was the first question I asked in my first ballet lesson?
“How long will it take me to get to pointe?”
When I heard, “around 5 years”, I nearly fell over. But hearing that timeframe made me even more determined to get there!
Now having nearly reached the end of my 3rd year at Elancé, I cannot tell you how much enrolling in ballet classes has been the best decision I have ever made! I have always had back issues and since I have been going to ballet classes, my back strength and core strength has improved, not to mention my posture.
The physical benefits are just the beginning; the mental benefits are an even bigger plus. Sometimes I can have a stressful day at work but after attending a class, I feel so elated, invigorated, and stress-free. Ballet has taught me to be disciplined and how to show respect for the programme (e.g. not being late, wearing appropriate attire, hair tied back). But it has also taught me that we are all human and we all make mistakes. So it is not a problem if the ballet sequence is done incorrectly, it’s about how you carry through with it, and “own it”. It has taught me to be flexible and adaptable as you will not always have the same ballet teacher forever. Coupled with that is the added benefit that each teacher will bring something different to the class. So it’s lovely to hear lots of different hints, tips, and techniques from various teachers.
At the end of the day, the biggest thing that I have learned is that if I don’t end up getting my pointe shoes, ultimately it does not matter. There are so many other benefits of doing ballet classes which far outweigh any goal of getting on pointe. If I happen to one day get on pointe, I will be elated. And if for whatever reason, I just don’t get there, I will still be elated as I have a long list of fantastic benefits from attending each and every class.
My new goal is to make sure I attend as many classes as possible (despite everyday things that may get in the way like work etc.) and to carry on through my ballet lessons into my ripe older years!
BY MAYA – ELANCÉ AMBASSADOR