Barre Class – a tale of misspent youth turned success!

Ballet – an artistic dance form performed to music, using precise and highly formalized set steps and gestures. Originated in Renaissance Italy and established its present form during the 19th century, is characterized by light, graceful movements…”

Also apparently it is amazing for posture, toning and lengthening the muscles. So I found
a class, got very excited, spent a while ruminating on Amazon as to what Ballet shoes would be best then obviously called my mum to tell her the good news. The conversation went a bit like this:
Mum: “What?!”
Me: “Yes”
Mum: “You’re joking”
Me: “No, no honestly”
I go on to discover that at the tender age of 4 my mother had signed me up for a term of
Ballet school, invested in a full little ballet kit (tutu included) and had proudly taken me down for my first lesson.

20160607_093825On finishing the class my mum (and I can just imagine her super excited at her daughters potential ballet stardom) asked me if I had enjoyed it and wanted to go back. Apparently I said “No”.

Mum, never being a quitter then decided to try again and sign me up for my first ballet exam when I was 7. I got dressed up as a daffodil and I can vaguely recall leaping around a bit in a circle with a lot of other ‘flowers’ trying not to bump into anyone. “It is not something I wish to repeat thank you” was my slightly more articulate response three years on when asked by mum if I had enjoyed it.

Apparently I was quite good at Scottish dancing…but probably because it partly involved jumping over swords and trying not to land on them – so I couldn’t really think about anything else other than primordial survival.

So today was quite a achievement, some 23 years down the line, I actually voluntarily sign up for and take myself down.

Barre classes are focused on low impact, small toning movements designed to improve posture using classic ballet moves on a barre and have become pretty popular in the UK over the last few years.

The atmosphere in my class at Windsor Leisure Centre was super chilled,
and there was a huge range of attendees from teenagers through to older ladies. We start with basic first position and the movements get more and more intense from there. By the sixteenth repetition on most of the movements my thighs are shaking.

The instructors constant advice on our posture – “tails in girls”, “keep shoulders down”, “lengthen those necks” – mean you are constantly repositioning your body and I realise that years of sitting at a desk have probably had a less than positive impact on my posture.

So all in all it was a great and pretty unexpected workout, it was not lively or bouncy; rather it was calm, slow and controlled.

Definitely going back…

…mum was surprised.

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