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Camille Styles

Living Kindly

Back to Ballet

October 29th, 2014

“Do one thing every day that scares you.” At one time or another, we’ve all heard Eleanor Roosevelt’s famous quote, and while I can’t say I succeed in this every single day, I pride myself in taking the road less traveled and trying things I once deemed as impossible. A few weeks ago, over the course of a 5-day period, several articles and videos about about ballet populated my social media feeds. Ballet as an adult was always something I wanted to try. Call it timing, or maybe just fleeting moments of serendipity, but now seemed like the right time. Nervous? Yes. Scared? Yep. Signed up anyway because the 14-year hiatus needed to end? Absolutely!

Ballet as an Adult

That’s right, a 14-year hiatus. A very little known fact: for 15 years of my life (ages 3-18), I was a dancer. Tap, jazz, pointe, clogging and ballet — I did it all. Dance was a major part of my childhood development, teaching me a lot about true commitment and dedication, practice, peer interaction and grace and poise. There weren’t many options to continue dance after highschool without becoming professional, so I found other things to enjoy during college. Even though I had always missed dance, the thought of returning to a practice that was once an everyday part of my life — a sense of security — now seemed almost foreign and scary. With the help of a brand new pair of ballet shoes and my friend Stephanie (also a dancer) in tow, we took a Beginning Ballet class at our local studio, Ballet Austin, and I’m so thankful I did.

Ballet as an Adult

Here’s what I learned about returning to my favorite practice as an adult:

  1. Learning was easier. Perhaps its because I have a background in dance or I’m a better listener & more mature than I was at 7, but learning our sequences was much easier.
  2. I could laugh at my faults. Sure, my pas de bouree, demi plie and balance’s were not as strong as they were 14 years ago, but I cut myself some slack and enjoyed it. Plus, I signed up because I missed a really fun part of my childhood, not to become a professional.
  3. Nothing has changed. With the exception of dancing to a live piano accompaniment (which is beautiful), nothing has changed. The pretty French names for moves still exist. There’s still that one girl in class that nails her pirouettes. And that other girl in class that is always asking the teacher to repeat the move. 
  4. It’s all in your mind. No one is watching you and there really is nothing to fear. This continues to hold true with each new activity I try. The only reason I watched anyone was to mimick their wonderful form. 
  5. Confidence is key. I loved our teacher, Melanie. She urged each of us to end each pose as if we were giving the performance of our life. To imagine that we were a character on stage and even if we got the move wrong, we owned it and the audience wouldn’t pick up on it. This led me to think, how wonderful would life be if we all approached situations with a little more confidence, imaginging we are on stage giving the performance of a lifetime.

Ballet as an Adult

For the record, with each pose I envisioned I was the lead character in Center Stage during the finale scene, and it worked until I looked in the mirror and saw my actual poses — then just laughed. Dance was in my life again and was more fun than I remember.

Kelly

image sources, top to bottom: ballet shoes (original source unknown), tying ballet shoes (original source unknown), at the bar, Kelly at her first dance recital at age 4

contributorByline_Temporary_KellyKrause

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32 Comments under :: Back to Ballet
  1. Jennifer Rose Smith says:

    Ahhh! This is so great, Kelly. I grew up dancing, and did pointe for years. I’ve been wanting to go pick up a class at the Butler Community center for a long time, but have been suffering from the same fears as you. This story is totally inspiring me to get over there and just go for it! xx jenn rose

  2. Traci says:

    Love this essay!

  3. Laura says:

    So fun! I’m not a dancer but I’m obsessed with the barre classes at Dancers Shape in Austin. Best workout ever.

  4. Payton says:

    YOU, my friend…. are wonderful!!!!!!! I LOVE THIS!

  5. Courtney says:

    This is so perfectly timed. I myself went back to ballet after a hiatus of 8 years! And I feel the exact same as you.

  6. Jessica Rose says:

    I use to dance a lot as well…I’m trying to find somewhere close and not too expensive that I can join!

    http://vodkaandarose.blogspot.co.uk

  7. Oh Kelly…that picture of you is just too cute! Can’t take it!!!

  8. Sue Whalen says:

    I, too, loved to dance. You may have inspired me to return. : )

  9. Love this post! I danced for over 15 years and over the past 6 years have put it on the back burner and now Im feeling the itch to try to take a class again. Scary…yes but this post is really making me want to overcome that fear.

  10. donzwebb says:

    Amazing post! I danced for 9 years when I was a little girl. I stopped when my mom died and started classes again as an adult three years ago. Like you, I was a bit anxious, but once I stepped into that studio, everything came back to me. It was as though I had never stopped dancing. Minus the lack of balance and flexibility of course! I haven’t been in months and you’ve inspired me to get back into my routine.:)

    • Kelly Krause says:

      This made me tear up a bit — I hope you do go back! I’m way less flexible but also less critical so a perfect balance.

      • donzwebb says:

        Hi Kelly!

        I plan on getting back into my routine next week. I’d taken a break because I had surgery last year. I miss it so very much! When I’m dancing, it feels like nothing else matters.:) Glad to hear you took the leap and got back into it!

        xo

        Donna

  11. Jessica says:

    This has really inspired me, I really want to start learning how to salsa but I’m in Italy at the moment and I’m not very good at Italian yet, so activities in a foreign tongue scare me. But hey, what have I got to lose?

  12. Glad you had a good experience, thanks for sharing! I took an adult ballet class at Sydney Dance Company last month after a 10-year hiatus… ballet is the same, my body is very different, but I still loved it! The studio is located on a wharf just around the corner from the Harbour Bridge– a beautiful and inspiring place to pick up where I left off back in Texas.

  13. Kate says:

    That photo at the end made me laugh out loud! How precious!

    Great post, and what a wonderful reminder that sometimes trying something “new” means revisiting a childhood hobby. I used to l love riding horses, and did so from my toddler years until I was about 13. Maybe I need to give it a shot again….

    • Kelly Krause says:

      It brought back so many memories. Amazing how much more fun it was as an adult… not what I expected but fully embraced.

  14. arielle says:

    center stage was my all time ballet inspiration movie! I miss ballet so much..this has me jonesing. I may just sign up somewhere today. thanks for the inspiration.

    love, arielle
    a simple elegance

  15. Abby Barstow says:

    That’s so cool! I’ve always wanted to get back into dancing when I got older but I feel kind of silly…but maybe I will do it once my son is older.

  16. thefolia says:

    Viva la dance…once a dancer…always a dancer. I will continue with dance the rest of my life…better late than never. Happy Pas de bouree!

  17. […] been feeling the itch to start dancing again, but my flat feet, weak ankles, and general clumsiness make me nervous. Maybe I can watch […]

  18. […] Kelly shared her inspiring story on going back to ballet class. […]

  19. Shelby says:

    This is so sweet… I happen to be the dancer in the first picture featured in this post, it was part of a lovely shoot taken by Jack and Tina Fussell of Flying House Studios (http://www.flyinghousestudio.com)
    Congratulations to you!

  20. Amanda says:

    This is so great! I’m glad you could get back into enjoying dance and overcome your fears.

  21. Sarah Butler says:

    Thank you for sharing your story! I’ve been on a 8-year hiatus (I studied as a child and teen at Ballet Austin), and finally decided this past December that I would go back to Ballet Austin for their adult classes! I’m so ecstatic that I’ve been dreaming about it for a week straight and just recently bought a new pair of canvas ballet slippers and a new leotard . Who knows! Maybe we’ll run into each other. <3

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