I enrolled in my first ballet class exactly 40 years after I started kindergarten

IN my kindergarten class of 1978 there was a clear world order.

There were town kids and country kids; those who caught the bus from South Corowa were technically still town kids.

Town girls wore Brownies uniforms to school on Tuesdays. They also went to ballet classes.

Country girls, like me, played netball in winter and tennis in summer. 

While I worked on my weak backhand, I gave my sporty parents the odd serve on why I had to go to Little Athletics – where the hurdles had tripped me up more than once – instead of dance.

Years later we joked about how my daughters would turn out to be runners and I’d have to drag my backside trackside all over again.

As luck would have it, they both chose dance.

I watched a YouTube tutorial to learn how to do a neat bun (give them crayons and paper!) and the next eight years spun and pirouetted by at a dizzying rate.

In light of this, I finally enrolled in my first-ever dance class in January, exactly 40 years since I started kindergarten.

It’s a senior ballet technique class.

So far I have spent a lot of time at the back of the barre – not unlike the misspent weekends of my youth – just until I adjust to the full wall of mirrors reflecting my every move.

After the first week was such a hoot – albeit with my bare feet making embarrassing noises on the studio floor – I decided to get a pair of dance shoes. 

When the dance shop owner asked me to do a demi-plie in the leather ballet slippers to check the fit, I thought she was joking.

“You can’t be serious,” I say.

“I’ve only just learnt first position!”

As I frantically looked around the shop for my 11-year-old daughter, she managed a discreet demi-plie (bending the knees without taking the heels off the floor) all while continuing to inspect the row of colourful Bloch leotards in front of her.

“Ahhh! Like that,” I say.

“Yes, we have definitely been over that.”

Next I was offered socks or tights to wear with the new ballet slippers.

“Whatever you think,” I say to the dance shop owner, not keen to perform another demi-plie in a public place.

Socks, it is!

Over recent weeks I have learnt ballet positions first through to fifth, pointed my feet with feeling and near doubled my French conversational language with the addition of terms like en dedan (turn inwards) and en dehors (turn outwards).

Barre exercises to the instrumental version of Dancing Queen never fail to make me smile. (I had to be the only one in the studio who was even alive for ABBA’s Australian tour in 1977. I didn’t go but my mum woke me up to see them on TV.)

The hour-long dance class is over before I know it; always a good sign of just being in the moment. There are plenty of challenges to keep me on my toes and more opportunities for interaction than yoga.

With International Women’s Day this week it’s never more timely to add something to your repertoire (perhaps French!).

​First position: Identify your passion.

Second position: Research any classes and programs.

Third position: Try something new.

Fourth position: Sign up for a term.

Fifth (and favourite) position: Enjoy!

The pointe I’m trying to make here is simply: What Nike said.

Just do it!