February 29, 2012

Let's dance

I know you’re supposed to try something new on Leap Day but I am working today (actually typing this at work on a slow news night). So yesterday after failed attempts to keep fit by going to the gym (I find any excuse not to go) I thought I’d take a class that would force me to go every week.

When I researched fitness classes Zumba was the top hit on the Google list, but the closest one to me is at a leisure centre that you have to pay to go to. So I looked elsewhere and during that search I got to thinking that if I’m going to invest time into taking a class maybe I should take a dance class where I actually learn a skill. I initially thought about tap dancing as I thought the constant jumping up and down had to make me fit. I also had flashbacks to my preschool days of tap class where I would tap a tap a tap a on every surface I could find much to everyone’s annoyance.

I found a school I liked that didn’t seem too focused on stick-thin ballerinas as most school’s adult dance section on their websites showed their lack of interest in actually teaching someone that wouldn’t go on to add stature to their name. But alas the tap class was on Wednesday night which is today which is my late night at work. Boo.

But before I got too bummed I saw they had a ballet class on Tuesday nights and it was the same price as a Zumba class. Suddenly all my dreams of becoming a prima ballerina came flooding back. I would make up my own moves to the Nutcracker; I would tippy toe round my bedroom pretending I was on Pointe shoes. I even took a ballet class when I was a child (the same class as my tap dancing) but my lack of depth perception seriously hindered my outer performance though inside I was the prima.

I emailed the teacher Monday night whose name is actually Valentine explaining my serious lack of dancing talent and she said to come along on Tuesday and I wouldn’t be the only beginner as the week before three other women attended. With no excuse not to do it I showed up at the centre at 8:15 and four or five women were waiting quietly in the hall as the earlier class (those with the Pointe shoes on their tippy toes) weren’t done yet.

I started chatting to a nice woman who was around my age and she said that she was new last week and she didn’t have shoes either. Another woman, who I assume the first had befriended the week before, started chatting as well and I was put at ease. As a photojournalist I can go into any situation and be quite confidant while talking to people. But when I’m about to make a fool of myself in front of people it’s a bit scary.

We started at the barre. Valentine was a bit distracted as her other classes were performing soon and the late start of our class was due to their practice. She jumped into doing the basic steps but it was a bit too quick for me. The other “new” people who started with me had taken years (one said 16) of ballet before. What!?! This is a beginner’s class!! Seriously!

But I kept up with them as best I could though the teacher made lots of statements as to how to correctly pull off the technique that I’m pretty sure were aimed at me. After the barre we went into more steps that lead to a full move but it went too fast. I really struggled with knowing which foot to put where when changing sides. I did do one move called a “jette” that the teacher said “good job” at. I’m sure if my face hadn’t of been bright red from exertion I probably would have blushed. And my poor feet. I kept stepping on my own bare feet.

There was a girl there, a regular, who was across from me at the barre and in front of me for the rest of the time and she was really graceful. I decided right then that I wasn’t going to give up until I could be as graceful as her and the moves so effortless. She left before I could ask her how long she’s been at it but that’s okay. I’ll ask her next class.

In the meantime I am studying. I googled the basic steps and I practiced today before I started work. I don’t want to overload on ballet techniques but I want to be able to go into class next week and actually keep up with everyone else. And I need shoes. The photo above is the shoes I want to get.

I tried something new and I am quite proud of myself.

February 16, 2012

My Valentine...

I am on my couch in my jammies under a patchwork quilt and crocheting a rug of all things. I just finished a 7-day work week and I am knackered. We have lost three photographers at work and as two of our remaining photogs were on holiday this week I've been overworked. I am listening to BBC radio Suffolk whilst typing this because my boss, whose jobs was made redundant, is about to give a radio interview. He's really upset by what went down and even more pissed because his bosses made it seem like he was choosing to leave in the article they put into the paper praising his work over 30 plus years.

Today is Billy's first day back at work as he has been super ill since last Thursday. I had to work on Valentine's Day and had to work later than usual so I was expecting a very low-key night. To my surprise I came home to heart-shaped shortbread cookies, red roses and a card that made me cry. I brought him home some insulation for the doors. I think we know who is the romantic in our relationship. I'm hoping to be making more things to blog about but I'm super tired when I get home.