You don’t have to have frolicked in a tutu at four to be able to pirouette at twenty-four. If spinning is getting old and you’ll never be caught doing the Warrior Pose, try a beginner’s ballet class. Here’s what plies and Port de Bras will teach you about yourself.
1. You actually like classical music. Ballet is always accompanied by piano music; sometimes recorded, often live. Therefore, going to ballet class is like working out at a piano recital. You’ll start to realize it’s a pleasure to decompress to Beethoven. (And when Beethoven becomes a treat, you know you’re a grown up.)
2. Your body can be super toned. Within the first six months of going to class religiously, you will start to see changes in your body. You’ll start rocking some abs. You’ll have more upperbody strength. Your manicured toes will point more than they ever have before. Your legs will have some legit structure. And your friends will start asking you what your secret is.
3. You are graceful. The excuse I get when I tell my friends they should give ballet a try is, “I’m not graceful.” No, you’re not graceful…until you put your mind to being graceful. The more you’re at the barre, the more you’ll see the ballerina in you come forth. You’ll become a little daintier with your hand movements, you’ll set your shoulders back a little farther, you’ll stand a little taller. “Graceful” comes.
4. You look confident (even if you’re shaking in your boots). You’ll start to realize that you take what you do at the barre out with you into the real world. You’ll have more of a confident presence when you’re stepping up to order your morning coffee, making a presentation, greeting your interviewer. Ballerinas are trained to look calm and composed even when they’re doing moves that reimagine what the body is capable of. So, even if you’re absolutely terrified, you won’t come off that way because you’ve been trained to look cool as a cucumber.
5. Your balance is en pointe. Sus-Sous is the French term for the move that will have you learning how to balance like no other. The term means “over-under” and “describes when a dancer springs onto releve demi-pointe or pointe, quickly placing the back foot more closely behind the front in fifth position with fully stretched legs” (ballethub.com). Once you do your first sus-sous, falter a bit, and grab onto the barre for help, you’ll find yourself practicing at home in front of the mirror until you don’t need the extra assistance. Soon, you’ll be tying your shoelaces while balancing on one foot and you’ll feel like a pro.
6. You are more aware of your body and what you are putting into it. Even if you are just in a beginner’s class, if you’re taking classes at a ballet studio, you’ll likely see other ballerinas heading to more advanced classes. They’ll walk taller than you, they’ll have even more structured legs, they will be more body conscious…and they’ll be drinking kale smoothies. You’ll find yourself wanting to be more like them and you’ll think about them when you’re grabbing for that bagel after class. #inspiration.
7. You prefer the barre over the bar. You’ll start to blow off your girlfriends when they’re making Friday evening happy hour plans. Sounds fun, no hard feelings. But you’d rather be doing an adagio and listening to Tchaikovsky than flirting with hopeless former frat boys and drunk-singing to Bennie & the Jets.
8. You actually want to go to the ballet. You’ll be marking your calendar for “The Nutcracker,” getting your tickets as soon as they’re available, and going alone if your Tinder date falls through and your mom can’t make it.
9. You love that ballet is an excuse to disconnect from the world. When you’re in class, your phone is off…and it’s in your tote all the way across the room. There are no breaks to go and look at it either, so you’re going rogue. Plus, your friends won’t want to come with you to class—no matter how hard you try to drag them along. So, allow yourself to be alone. Enjoy the serenity, listen to your breath, challenge your body. And let everyone wonder how you got those killer legs.