Ballet or No Ballet? That Is the Question.

In January 2016, I weighed 73 kilos just like when I was pregnant with Sky three years ago. I was unfit, unhealthy, and unhappy. Misael’s ballet teacher, whom I’d known for over a year, noticed this and offered me to give a private lesson. I had previously told her that I’d tried yoga to lose some weight but I found it boring. Ballet might have been a better solution, since it really worked on the muscles and it involved music (the best part of any kind of work-out, in my opinion). So, I had a private lesson for about a month before I was enrolled in Misael’s ballet school.

The class was dissolved after only a month because it didn’t reach the minimum student quota. I was then given a choice, to quit altogether or to be in the same class with my daughter. Considering the significant weight I’d lost (10 kilos in 2 months) and how I wanted to lose more weight, I decided to join Misael’s class. The lessons were easier than I thought. Of course, the teacher would give lessons that were suitable to the capabilities of the much younger students. In terms of stamina and endurance, I was ahead of them. I was thinking of quitting for good because I didn’t improve my skills and lose more weight than I wanted to. But then the news of yearly performance came.

The performance would be grand; it would involve four hundred musicians and ballerinas. Misael and I auditioned for the parts in the cabarets. I was given the role of a queen in one of the dramas. That’s when the problems started to appear. Despite my sincere determination to learn ballet, I realized that I had neither the body nor the training of a ballerina. During the practices the school principal/head choreographer never stopped yelling at me. Because my legs were not stretched out enough. Because my torso could not be lengthened more than it was. Because my jumps were lacking power and balance. Because my arms couldn’t sway the way they should be. She always forgot that I started ballet just four months before the practice. The demands left me frustrated. When I was required to spend five to six hours every Saturday since August to have further training, my family objected. I contemplated then decided to give up the role, with a lot of regrets and sadness of course. But hey, family always comes first.

The road to performance was not an easy one. From always-changing choreography to eliminating one of the three dances we had practiced for five months. The sudden change left me, again, frustrated. The school gave excuse that several dances were eliminated because they didn’t fit the vision of the whole show. I was like, what? When it comes to the vision of a show/a program/a project/anything, the owner(s) of the event should elaborate the vision to the executors of the vision. That’s how it’s done in organizations and companies I had worked for. As for this ballet performance, I believe the vision was neither crafted nor elaborated well enough to the ballet teachers, causing redundant and overlapping choreographies. I couldn’t believe how poor the communication was among the staff of the whole performance. The choreography of the two dances we performed was changed even on the stage when we were performing. The teacher had to dance with us because we were so clueless. It was unplanned and embarrassing. We looked like we were not prepared at all for the performance. They say success is the result of preparation that meets opportunity. Well, they don’t say it for nothing.

The only good thing I will always cherish from my first and last ballet performance was, I got to dance along with my daughter. The sudden change of choreography had put her right beside me, and it was a wonderful memory for both of us. After the event, I decided to quit ballet for a while because I have three projects due in December. I still have three kilos to shed to reach my ideal weight, but I’m doing Taekwondo three times a week, so the routine exercises will only be reduced a bit. In the meantime, I’m delighted to see how Misael is progressing in ballet. This is her fourth year doing it. She had started dancing since she was still in diapers, and I’m content that she is still enjoying it. The performance we did last Sunday also showed her how older and more experienced ballerinas danced. It was an eye-opener for her.

In the last ballet class I had this month, I realized that I’m still fond of music, dancing, and ballet. All in all, it’s been an interesting experience. Maybe I’ll be back next year.

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