I was gleeful at our last Beginners Ballet with Adrian Arroyo; for once I wasn’t late. And when I say ‘not late’, I mean I got there with enough time to scurry into the hall and whip on my ballet shoes to be ready to start barre work before the music started. Now, I try not to make a habit of being late but when the class starts at 8.25 (which is later than 8.15 and earlier than 8.30) my mind gets confused.
Of course, this lesson was tinged with sadness. It was the LAST lesson with the mad-haired, funny-socked Spaniard. It was also the last lesson with the girls who I’d echappe-d and glissade-d with for the past 6 weeks. It was also the last week where I’d leave with an achey bottom (ballet is great for bottoms!)
We went through the usual routine – barre work, floor work (movement, gliding elephant-style trampling, jumping*) followed by the most relaxing part of all – it’s what we do at the end of every session and I think it should be turned into a class unto itself. It’s like the most delicious warm down ever; Adrian does lovely stretchy, floaty movements and we all copy. And it all ends with a couple of giant curtseys. Ahhh. This is more zen than yoga.
However, there’s part of me that’s relieved ballet has finished – I have my Wednesday evenings back for one. But then, I don’t have my enjoyable cycle to and from the classes, the beautiful nuggets of wisdom that Adrian peppers his teaching with and the infectious laughter that comes from his brave attempts not to throw his hands up in despair at our awkward arms and mismatched feet.
The main focus of our session this time was to purely and simply dance; not to focus on getting moves right, making sure arms were correct or even thinking. We were here to FEEL. Now, I know Adrian said this in the context of the tandu our legs were supposed to be carrying out, but what he said really resonated. In fact, there was one thing he said that I can’t stop thinking about to this day:
Find the meaning of what you do.
Who knew ballet lessons would be so deep and meaningful?
I can honestly say that Adrian’s lessons are unique. I’m hugely grateful for City Academy for letting me take this course as it’s not just been a ballet class. Adrian is a perfectionist and passionate about what he does. Don’t get me wrong, his classes are by no means easy and there are classes out there where the instructions are clearer and the steps are easier. There’s nothing wrong with that at all but on reflection there’s no ‘life’ in those classes. These classes are all about living and learning, rather than just getting your feet to do certain steps.
For someone who wants more than just foot-tapping fun, sign yourself up to one of Adrian’s classes at City Academy.
Top Tip of the Week
If you’re just focusing on technique you’ll never be good at what you’re trying to be good at. You’ve got to embrace more than just technique.
* The jumping is worse than any Insanity class.